2015: What’s In Store (For Storage)?

Data Storage Trends

2014 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? Below are my predictions for the coming year:

Goodbye Datacentre

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

Death Of Disk

Over the past couple of years, flash has clearly had a huge impact on the storage space, as it offers 10x the performance of disk at a fraction of the cost. The increasing use of flash will only continue in 2015 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 on in 2015 will be the emergence of object storage for low-cost capacity, and the ability to combine object storage with flash to offer both performance-optimized 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 cost low. This is particular important as a survey earlier in the year from analyst house 451 Research 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 with 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 2015 will see more organisations looking at their storage infrastructure to ensure it adequately meets their disaster recovery and backup needs.

The People Element

People have always been one of 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.

In 2015 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 business 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 in 2015 and beyond.

Dave Wright

Dave Wright left Stanford in 1998 to help start GameSpy Industries, a leader in online videogame media, technology, and software. While at GameSpy, Dave led the team that created a backend infrastructure powering thousands of games and millions of gamers. GameSpy merged with IGN Entertainment in 2004 to create one of the largest Internet gaming & entertainment media companies. Dave served as Chief Architect for IGN and led technology integration with FIM/MySpace after IGN was acquired by NewsCorp in 2005. In 2007 Dave founded Jungle Disk, a pioneer and early leader in cloud-based storage and backup solutions for consumers and businesses. Jungle Disk was acquired by leading cloud provider Rackspace in 2008 and Dave worked closely with the Rackspace to build a cloud platform supporting tens of thousands of customers. In December 2009 Dave left Rackspace to start SolidFire.