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April 8, 2016updated 28 Mar 2017 5:32pm

How storage is changing for enterprises

By John Oates

An interview with Till Stimberg, director product marketing, storage division Europe, Middle East and Africa. He outlines major changes for enterprise storage in the next twelve months.

When I look at the storage market there are five main trends I see emerging or strengthening over the next year.

  1. The most obvious trend is the move to Flash, although admittedly this is not a new trend, but in 2016 the technology will hit a break point.

The changes are not just about price but also density and other benefits of the technology. Flash is already at, or very close, to match point with hard discs in terms of technology and price. By the end of the year there will be very few reasons not to go with Flash. Really cold storage – like tape, will last for ever, but there is not much time left for spinning hard discs except for customer’s existing investments. Apart from pricing we shouldn’t forget the other advantages for Flash in the data centre – energy and cooling benefits. Flash can also remove the need for tiering and dramatically simplify structures within storage set-ups.

  1. There’s been a lot of hype around scale-out object storage. This is technology which allows large scale storage without the limits of file structures which allows the storing petabytes of unstructured data in an affordable and manageable way.

Again it is not brand new technology but now we’re seeing a lot of enterprises evaluating it for use within on-premise data centres. We’re seeing implementation now as well as enterprises evaluating apps and how to get them working.

  1. Hyperconvergence is another much-hyped technology which is now hitting the mainstream. It is only a step into a bigger direction to really chang the way people look at infrastructure. Composable infrastructure will be the next step combining convergence with infrastructure programmability. We will see it hitting the data centre mainstream in 2016.
  1. This year will also see changes to how back-up and data protection works. Traditionally it has been kept very separate. Some enterprises even have a separate back-up department. Cloud and as-a-service means you can’t keep data protection outside this system. Application owners want protection integrated and managed within the infrastructure.

Enterprises still want to keep some separation and control but the old days of building infrastructure and in a second step protecting it with a back-up system are over. It is like wider IT security – it is not just an after-thought any more but designed into systems from the ground up.

  1. Finally as we move to a Flash and integrated hyper-converged world we are going to see the evolution of network infrastructure. Connection speeds are increasing and we will see increasing adoption of faster connections over common protocols like ethernet and other technologies. The other advantage is that these technologies also fit more easily into wider management technology.

Mr. Stimberg expects to see continued consolidation in the storage market. Customers are increasingly looking for vendors which provide flexibility and a path towards integrated infrastructure.

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