FLASH IS STILL HOT
Let’s look further into trending storage technologies. Of course, a sea change has been the adoption of solid-state drives (SSDs). First generation SSDs improved performance and lowered power consumption over their mechanical counterparts, but were costly and limited in capacity. Advances improved their storage and reduced their cost, and the next generation of SSDs, 3D NAND drives, will further boost capacity, performance, and affordability.
But there’s more to come. Intel is developing 3D XPoint technology, for example, which uses different approaches than conventional flash storage and promises to be much, much faster than today’s SSDs. If they cost-effectively deliver on this promise, another sea change is coming.
HYPERCONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURES (HCI)
Sales of hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI) will continue to be robust. With HCI, storage is not an add-on purchased from third parties, but an intrinsic part of the infrastructure. Storage silos are gone; all data reside in one place, popularly known as a data lake.
Storage aggregation complements several other trends. More and more companies are deploying Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which though generally small and simple, collect data relentlessly. IoT data will greatly add to the task of storing data already collected daily. Keeping all these data in one place simplifies matters, as will software-defined storage (SDS), another growing trend. Leveraging the virtualization of HCI, SDS can facilitate the administration and organization of information in data lakes.
Additionally, this strategy plays well with new analytics tools that provide managerial oversight of storage pools and extract value and insights from operational and IoT data. Organizations will increasingly use analytics to leverage their data for better efficiencies, productivity, asset planning, and customer relationships.
Of course, HCI isn’t required for data aggregation and analytics. Many companies will continue to rely on multi-vendor strategies to avoid vendor lock-in and preserve granular, cost-effective scalability. After all, why pay for an HCI module that contains both computing and storage when all you need is storage? With SDS, integrating storage devices into the enterprise pool is easy.
Another sea change is the rise of clouds. Some organizations will continue to depend on private, on-premises clouds for compliance, security, and other reasons, while others will use a combination of private and third-party cloud services, or rely exclusively on the latter.
Clouds are increasingly used for backups. Many third-party clouds offer cost-efficient, though slower, tiers for inactive data. While some enterprises still prefer in-house solutions, clouds offer practical repositories for backing up data, particularly now that their security has improved.
For greater peace-of-mind, many businesses store their data on multiple clouds, further ensuring that operational and archived data are always available. Should one cloud service fail for any reason, employees and customers will still access the data replicated in other clouds.
VIDEO STORAGE – 4K & SURVEILLANCE VIDEO DATA
Finally, those industries that produce video still face extraordinary storage challenges. The creation and distribution of high-resolution video content demand fast, large, and robust storage solutions, especially now that 4K content is gaining in popularity. Video files will only grow larger in size, even with compression, and there will be more of them going forward. They have to be stored somewhere.
The same is true of video surveillance content. Video surveillance overlaps with IoT in that remotely-distributed devices generating streams of data are proliferating. Whether it be for safety, security, or operational concerns, this video must remain accessible for set periods of time and sometimes analyzed. Vendors that offer effective solutions for capturing and storing video feeds will do well in 2018.