Pressures on Storage
The explosive growth in digital data is the key challenge but not the only one. Changes in business and technical demands mean companies need to modify how they build and manage storage. Data protection requirements for applications are no longer fixed for their entire lifetime so flexibility is key. Due to budget constraints, companies need to find ways to bring in new solutions that complement and extend existing capabilities.
Digital Data Growth
Digital data growth continues unabated and, according to a recent IDC report, is estimated to double every two years. This growth and greater requirements for data retention, causes storage efficiency and cost to continue to be key concerns. Companies must find ways to reduce storage demands, replicate data, and eliminate risk with physical media. The largest segment of data growth is for capacity optimized storage systems. The digital data growth easily outpaces overall IT budgets that have been generally flat. This results in the realization of the need for cost-effective, easy to manage, and flexible storage solution in order to sustain growth by companies and managed service providers (MSPs).
Flexibility and Responsiveness
The speed and protection requirements of data change over time, often rapidly. Future storage solutions need to be more flexible when it comes to meeting service level requirements of business services. It is essential that storage solutions can be managed dynamically as business requirements vary. Data protection requirement for applications are no longer fixed for their entire lifetime so flexibility is key.
Keeping Current and Future Proof
It is unlikely that the current ways of building and operating storage system will be sustainable in the future. However, few companies can afford a complete infrastructure replacement and so need to find ways to bring in new solutions that complement and extend existing capabilities.
Software-Defined Storage (it's a software world)
Software-Defined Storage (SDS) disrupts the market for enterprise storage by allowing the purchase of next generation software designed specifically for commodity hardware, and allowing for immediate and flexible hardware upgrades. This allows enterprises and MSPs to meet their storage growth needs, while avoiding lock-ins and inflexibility associated with using high-cost, traditional storage solutions. Analysts predict the acceleration of current trends, leading to the dramatic shrinkage of the traditional storage market dominated by EMC and NetApp. The disruption that will happen to the IT storage industry is similar to the disruption brought onto telecom by the Internet or to retail by Amazon: a complete change in the value chain. As a result, traditional vendors will lose billions of dollars in business, while new ways of doing things will attract billions of dollars in business opportunity. Software running on commodity hardware is the prime enabler of this disruption.
Deduplication (eliminating redundant data and allowing WAN replication for DR)
Data deduplication is a key technique for reducing the amount of storage space a company needs for its data. In most companies, the storage systems contain duplicate copies of many pieces of data. For example, the same file may be saved in several different places by different users, or two or more files that aren't identical may still include much of the same data. Another example is virtual machine images based on a single operation system version. Deduplication eliminates these multiple copies by saving just one copy of the data and replacing the other copies with pointers that lead back to the original copy. Companies frequently use deduplication in backup and disaster recovery applications.