Storage Trends

Storage Trends for 2014

Rob Whiteley, VP of Solution Marketing at Riverbed, says:

“Storage is the soul of computing. It’s what provides the state, the context for applications. It is what IT organizations persist, protect, and secure.” That quote from David Wu, Riverbed’s CTO, is one of my favorite. It’s reminds us that storage isn’t always sexy, but it matters a great deal when users can’t access it. Without storage, applications don’t work and users aren’t productive. Data, and storage by extension, really is the soul of the modern enterprise.

Given the rise of storage and as we move ever so closely to the end of 2013, I wanted to share a few storage related trends/predictions for 2014. Below are four trends for 2014:

Software Defined Storage (SDS) Will Fizzle Out: If you look under the covers, SDS has been part of the conversation for more than a decade. The current discussion on SDS has been focused on creating pooled, abstracted, heterogeneous storage that can be automated. This isn’t new, though. What’s really happening is an interesting way to elevate the dialog and help organizations get over the knowledge hump. It’s about bringing SDS along with the overall SDN and SDDC journey. The problem is it isn’t about the technology; it’s about bringing it all together. As with any infrastructure component, storage teams need to quickly provision capacity for the business. In 2014 conversations about SDS will fizzle as there’s not a lot new innovation here. Expect the conversation to quickly pivot to a broader one around server, storage and networks as part of the software defined data center.

Companies are going to finally start putting primary storage into the cloud: Cloud storage has been a prediction for a few years now, but the implementation has been slow due to the distrust in the various services available as well as security and data loss issues. Today the majority of an organizations storage being saved in the cloud is for backup and archiving, where the economic, performance, and risk profile is a perfect fit. But storage teams and organizations desperately want the savings of time and money cloud storage promises for other data sets. As cloud storage providers get better at providing secure and highly available solutions, combined with the maturity of cloud gateways to interface these clouds, companies will start putting primary storage into the cloud. In 2014 expect companies to overcome the location and distance limitations of virtual computing by physically – not just logically – disaggregating data and compute. Some companies will put large data sets in the cloud, and then pull that into the datacenter to analyze; others will connect compute clouds to storage clouds to create multi-tier applications that aren’t cohabitated in the same location. In fact, progressive enterprises will even start storing entire copies of their data center including the memory, storage and compute in the cloud. These more mature companies will demonstrate the ability to boot their entire data center from cloud storage.

A network company will acquire a storage company: The rise of converged infrastructure stacks — combining server, storage, compute, virtualization, and management tools all pre-integrated — is not new and will continue to grow.  Most of these are delivered via multi-vendor models, but we see some large vendors now doing the entire stack from soup to nuts. Once storage is abstracted, pooled, and automated, the value comes in being able to move data and virtual machines around — which require tight integration with virtualized networking. Economically it makes sense for one vendor to provide all the networking and storage services across the infrastructure. Therefore, in 2014 a large networking company will acquire a small storage startup that provides the storage virtualization and automation to make their converged infrastructure offerings more powerful.

Data security will get turned on its head: All of the struggles and issues with data security, data encryption and data leakage are due to the fact that data lives everywhere. As new virtual technologies allow organizations to centralize the data and then project it out to those who require the data; many of the solutions and tactics used in the past to protect the data will change. The number of solution and devices organizations invested in to protect its data will ultimately decline or even go away. Next year, there will be a change in where the data resides, meaning organizations will store all the data inside their own data center or in storage clouds, reducing or even eliminating data that resides on an individual machines. With the data running in centralized private and public clouds, the concern over data security is minimized as companies use their tried-and-true security capabilities and processes. In 2014, expect companies to rethink effective, centralized architectures; a radically simple concept that will turn data security on its head.