storage transformation

David Flynn

David Flynn, co-founder and CEO of Primary Data, says:

In 2014, we will begin to see the industry evolve from managing storage systems to managing data. This is a necessary storage transformation in order to meet the performance demands of future data-driven technologies. Let’s take a look at three things that will push this storage transformation along next year.

Augmented reality becomes mainstreamed

Overlaying technologies that provide augmented reality, linking the virtual world with the physical world, will become more mainstreamed. While we saw Google Glass make a big splash this year, the next wave of augmented reality products will be more subtle – less in your face, so to speak.

At the same time, virtual reality will reappear with a renaissance of products mainly targeted at entertainment that, although promising, will fall short. However, these virtual reality products will become the foundation of new products that deliver augmented reality for overlay technologies.

Most innovation in augmented reality, to date, has been in the consumer space. But we’ll see augmented reality make headway in the enterprise, likely first appearing in engineering, logistics and healthcare settings.

In order for these augmented reality devices to work properly, they need to quickly access wireless networks and rapidly serve up data from the cloud. This year, we will figure out how augmented reality can best be used.

The Internet of Things changes how we use data

The Internet of Things will continue to revolutionize our interaction with machines around us and generate a flood of data in the process. This type of data is different than that of past compute systems, which have been systems of record where the data is normalized.

Now we have systems of engagement where the data is unstructured and always on. If you were to normalize this data, you’d lose the richness of it. The value of these pools of data is the ability to go back and post-analyze, which means you can’t throw any of that data away and you can’t take it offline. Now, the goal is to leave this data unstructured and accessible, and then deal with it effectively at a later point in time.

More data in more places causes software development to accelerate

Spurred by ease of cloud access and employees carrying their own powerful compute devices, enterprises will reach a tipping point where the hardware on the back-end and front-end becomes less important. Enterprises will turn their attention and budgets to custom software that will enable employees to access the network and services they require.

However, as companies write files on mobile, cloud, servers and other custom applications, it will all come to be seen as one big storage repository, which will need to integrate with software to see and share information.

What I find interesting about these three trends is what they mean for the storage industry. Storage must transform. Our challenge now is meeting the performance demands of future data-driven technologies. The amount of data these technologies create will change the world and the old way of just storing data will no longer be sufficient to address the frequency and different ways of accessing data.

It’s now about getting data fast from anywhere in the data center and moving it anywhere we want and at any time we want.  This all comes down to the need to house data for volume, velocity and variety of access. But, what’s lacking in current virtual storage solutions is the ability for the data to reside on the right storage platform at the right time.

File-based and object based storage, which is the unification of big scale out NAS and cloud object-based storage, will play a significant role in this storage transformation. File-based and object based storage provides a way to store data that can grow without bound, rather than fixed block sizes used in traditional SAN arrays. It is also better suited for handling unstructured data and data in the cloud. These architectures will overtake monolithic storage systems and open the door to further innovation.

What we need to understand from these three predictions is that it’s not about the media the data is stored on – it doesn’t matter if it’s a disk drive or flash. What matters is the data and your ability to retrieve it and use it regardless of the location or storage system it resides on. We need to manage data, not storage systems, and in 2014 we’ll begin to see the industry evolve in this direction.

About the Author

David Flynn is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Primary Data, a stealth-mode enterprise software company leading the next evolution in software-defined data center technologies. David is a recognized leader in storage innovation. As co-founder of Fusion-io, Inc., he pioneered the use of Flash in the enterprise data center, dramatically boosting speed. He served as Fusion-io’s president and CEO until May 2013 and board member until July 2013.