Digital Storage Projections For 2017, Part 3 – Forbes

Last year we made predictions for 2016 storage systems. This piece will focus on digital storage systems projections for 2017. Let’s look at expectations for the growth of private and public cloud storage, container technology, Ethernet storage networking and where flash memory, hard disk drives and magnetic tape will be used in enterprise storage.

Cloud storage continues to grow, with increasing use of private and public clouds as well as hybrid clouds containing some private as well as public cloud. Although the majority of private data is still file based, object-based cloud storage is growing. According to Paul Zeiter, President of ZertoCloud, “spending will continue to be on the incline, and we believe a majority of that spend will go toward hybrid cloud infrastructures; this is proving to be the sweet spot for the enterprise. Organizations that have spent a lot of time and resources on their own data center are not likely to do away with it all overnight. Adopting a hybrid cloud environment allows for a transition to cloud in a way in which feels most comfortable; a gradual approach that can provide both immense cost savings as well as recovery benefits.”

According to Geoff Barrall, CTO of Nexsan, “No matter how far we look into the future, there will always be data too sensitive to trust to public cloud services. So whilst some companies will create a hybrid cloud strategy, and some may go all private, most companies, especially larger ones, will not risk their data to a 100% public cloud strategy.”  Private cloud storage will be replacing file-based storage in 2017.

Doker Container Logo

Doker Container Logo

Containers are achieving greater use in cloud storage environments. Containers allow an environment where an application can run on an isolated instance in a data center. According to Chuck Dubuque, Vice President of Production and Solution marketing at Trinti, “Containers give bare metal performance and hardware access for real-time transactional workloads, but with some of the abstraction and portability benefits of virtual machines. Containers on physical (storage) can be a solution for those hard-to-virtualize workloads where performance and latency are essential. Containers are also more lightweight and ephemeral, making them a great match for modern cloud-native workloads.”

Fibre channel networks are being displaced by Ethernet-based storage. Lee Caswell, Vice President of VMware, Inc. said, “In 2017, we expect it (Fibre Channel) to wane faster than ever, with the steadily increasing speed of standard Ethernet all but eliminating the need for proprietary SAN connections and the expensive FC infrastructure that comes along with it. The acquisition of the last pure-play FC player, Brocade, by Broadcom is only the latest indicator that storage specialization is becoming a smaller part of the market. In fact, all three of the classic FC players-Brocade, Emulex, and QLogic are no longer independent companies.”

Dell Powervault Product Image

Dell Powervault Product Image

Server-based hyperconverged storage continues to displace purpose built storage appliances although all flash memory arrays continue to grow. Although hard disk drives will still contain the bulk of enterprise storage, high performance storage will increasingly be based upon flash memory. Flash memory use will also increase in client computing applications, especially in business laptop and tablet computers. Unfortunately the higher price of flash memory through much of 2017 will have some impact on the use of flash for less performance-based application. These higher prices are a result of the transition of flash memory from planar to 3D flash as well as the increasing demand for flash memory in ever-higher capacity Apple and Android phones and tablets.

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