Storage trends in 2015: Death of the disk, and the importance of agility

Agility will be a major focus this year

Hard disk

Last year, we saw the continued transformation of enterprise IT infrastructure towards the next-generation data centre model. Fuelled by advances in compute, network and storage virtualisation, businesses are seeing the advantages of scalable infrastructure that can respond to their needs.

Central to this has been a growing acknowledgment of the vital role that storage plays as the foundation of the next-generation data centre. With this in mind, what are the storage trends that we're going to see in 2015? Read on to find out my predictions for this year.

Goodbye datacentre

Interestingly, most other trends are related to the much larger industry trend of the shift from siloed datacentre infrastructures to the cloud. This trend has been moving faster in many other areas than in storage, but storage is clearly in the crosshairs as people look to be able to deliver scalable, predictable capacity and performance in their virtual and cloud environments.

Death of the disk

Over the past couple of years, flash has clearly had a huge impact on the storage space, as it offers ten times the performance of disk at a fraction of the cost. The increasing use of flash will only continue this year and beyond until disk is completely relegated to cold storage.

On the other hand, tiering is clearly showing its limitations as a stop-gap on the way to all-flash primary storage, and 2015 will see more IT departments starting to realise this. Limitations include inconsistent performance and the need to constantly add to the flash tier in order to maintain performance, issues which are hampering many businesses' journey to next-generation infrastructure.

Hello object storage

One big trend to keep an eye this year will be the emergence of object storage for low-cost capacity, and the ability to combine object storage with flash to offer both performance-optimised and capacity-optimised scale-out storage tiers.

Storage agility

Agility will be a huge focus – the number one concern for enterprises when it comes to storage is not performance (that's number two) but capacity growth. The question enterprises are going to have to address is how they can deal with rapid expansion of storage and workloads, while delivering consistent performance and keeping costs low.

This is particularly important as a survey from analyst house 451 Research last year identified rapid capacity growth, consistent storage performance, storage forecasting, and technology refreshes as the biggest storage challenges.

Data sovereignty

This is already a huge issue for service providers and is becoming a larger issue for multi-national corporations, requiring them to be much more vigilant regarding where data is stored. It means they must analyse exactly how and where their data is stored and ensure it complies with the various different national data rules and regulations it falls under.

Future of backup

With dynamic virtual and cloud environments becoming the norm, backup is moving from something that has to be manually configured and controlled for each app, to something that is just an inherent part of the storage infrastructure. As a result this year will see more organisations looking at their storage infrastructure to ensure it adequately meets their disaster recovery and backup needs.

Staff matters

People have always been one of the largest, if not the largest, expenses when it comes to storage, as you need to ensure you've got the employees available to manage it properly. For storage to continue to grow, enterprises in 2015 and beyond are going to have to get much better at deploying and managing it, which is where automation and cloud infrastructure come in.

Conclusion

This year, storage will continue the decade-long evolution from slow, complex, manually configured silos towards the endpoint of fast, efficient, and highly automated pools. As a result there will be massive opportunities for businesses in 2015 to take advantage of this.

However, to effectively capitalise on this IT departments have to understand their storage needs and the type of storage that will allow them to meet these needs. That will be one of the biggest challenges and trends for businesses this year and beyond.

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