We're generating more data and keeping less of it within arms' reach. The year in storage news can best be summed up with advances in hardware that will allow IT organizations to keep abreast of the terabytes of data they're managing with all types of data storage, both on-site and in the cloud.
Rapid Data Growth Requires New Storage Strategies
According to InformationWeek’s 2018 State of Infrastructure Study, most companies’ data storage has grown by up to 99TB over the last two years, and nearly 10 percent grew more than 1 petabyte during that period. Most indicated that data stores were expected to grow by roughly the same amount during the next two years.
Why this is a big deal: With the explosive growth of IoT-based devices, high-resolution social media, images and more, it’s more difficult than ever to find effective, efficient types of data storage to not only store, but also access, manage and analyze data.
How this affects IT as an industry: It’s up to the IT industry to come up with good ways to solve this problem, and it’s up to IT professionals to help the organizations they work for choose the right path. During 2018, vendors including HPE, NetApp, Pure Storage, Fujitsu, Nutanix, Commvault and Veritas have made progress in solving this problem.
Where this story is likely to go in 2019: New research from IDC found that the global data sphere could grow from 33 to 175 zettabytes by 2025. This problem isn’t going away. Vendors will continue to work on new types of data storage.
Cloud Storage Is on the Rise
Why this is a big deal: As organizations continue to look for ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs for ever-growing data stores, more are turning to cloud-based storage. Cloud is an efficient way to store and reliably access both structured and unstructured data. It requires less IT support on-premise, helping companies trim costs, and improves business continuity and disaster recovery.
How this affects IT as an industry: According to IDC, nearly half of the data worldwide will be stored in public clouds by 2025. Because cloud-based storage reduces the amount of on premises-based IT support, IT staff may find themselves having to learn new skills to retain their value.
Where this story is likely to go in 2019: More companies will move to a cloud-based storage model, with many adopting a multi-cloud strategy. The option allows organizations to choose private cloud data storage for sensitive data and public cloud storage for less sensitive data, opening up new options for types of data storage.
Software-Defined Storage (SDS) Comes of Age
Software-defined storage, where storage is managed via software and uncoupled from hardware, gives organizations more flexibility in adding and allocating storage to various hardware devices. Sometimes, that storage is part of a hyper-converged infrastructure, which also includes compute and virtualization in one physical unit.
Why this is a big deal: Unlike older storage models like NAS, these software-based approaches to storage are fully automated, scalable and flexible. Because it’s not tied to any specific hardware, organizations can avoid vendor lock-in.
How this affects IT as an industry: Both SDS and hyper-converged storage are still maturing both in terms of features and standards. That means that IT professionals must keep up to date with changes and advancements, as well as any show-stoppers such as incompatibilities and inconsistencies.
Where this story is likely to go in 2019: Nowhere but up. According to CDW’s Digital Transformation Insight Report, 40 percent of organizations use SDS in some capacity today. An additional 17 percent are piloting it, and 20 percent are actively researching adoption.
Flash Storage Improves Dramatically
Capacity has increased dramatically. According to a report from DCIG, flash has experienced a five-fold increase compared to products of just a year ago. It found that the highest capacity product today can provide 70 petabytes of all-flash capacity. The report notes that the combination of all-flash performance and high storage density means that an all-flash array might be able to meet an organization’s performance and capacity requirements in one-tenth the space of legacy hard disk drive storage systems and first-generation all-flash arrays.
Why this is a big deal: Flash is efficient, delivers more storage density in a smaller footprint, more temperature-tolerant than many other types of data storage, and typically more robust than disk. And with this maturity, prices have come down, making it within the reach of most organizations.
How this affects IT as an industry: More efficiency and density at lower costs means faster response times and application performance. It may also mean that IT professionals have a bit less to do in the storage realm, but more opportunities in other areas of IT.
Where this story is likely to go in 2019: Flash is likely to become even denser in 2019. It will also get faster, thanks to a technology called Optane that provides more endurance and performance latencies and throughput than 3D NAND-based technologies today, according to Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. HPE, for example, recently announced an Optane-based technology called Memory-Driven Flash, built around NVMe and storage-class memory. It’s aimed at real-time workloads.