What’s the future of data storage technology and the IT pro?

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchConvergedInfrastructure.


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Several enterprise data storage trends are all about getting rid of storage as an IT silo. That will have consequences for both the industry and IT pros who work in it.

Mike Matchett
Small World Big Data

Have you sensed a shift in storage these days? Maybe you’ve noticed a certain resignation among storage industry veterans contemplating the future of data storage technology. Or maybe when it comes time to refresh aging storage arrays, there’s less differentiation among competing products or no exciting new storage technologies — everyone has flash by now, right? — or flaming vendor wars to get excited about. Maybe many of your important storage needs are now met using a cloud service, a relatively no-name vendor product or even open source.

For many years, it’s been fun to watch the big storage vendors fight the good fight. They used to line up elbow-to-elbow in the front row at big shows like VMworld, vying for the biggest booth to show off their hottest products. This last year, it seemed storage has moved back a few rows. Market forces and trends such as software-defined and hyper-converged have changed large parts of the storage game, sure. But when the game shifted in the past, competitive storage vendors shifted with it. Maybe this is harder to do now that storage is getting embedded, integrated, converged and “cheapened” through cloud competition.

Many recent storage trends involve getting rid of storage as an IT silo, raising questions about the future of data storage technology. How can you sell Storage with a capital S if no one is buying stand-alone storage anymore? Are we coming to the end of storage as an important, first-class industry? The short answer is no.

But data? Lots of data
Accounting-focused industry reports show legacy storage-centric companies continue to suffer from thinning margins for their high-end hardware arrays. But the collective storage footprint in general is growing. With data volumes exploding from globalized applications, web-scale databases, big data analytics, online archiving and that little internet of things opportunity, all those new bits will have to go somewhere.

Maybe the job won’t even be called storage administrator in a few years, but rather something like chief data enabler.

All this new data simply can’t go into cheap and deep cold cloud storage. If data is worth having, as much business value as possible must be wrung out of it. And if it’s important data, it has to be governed, protected, secured and ultimately actively managed…(read the complete as-published article there)

Storage technologies evolve toward a data-processing platform

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchDataCenter.


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Emerging technologies such as containers, HCI and big data have blurred the lines between compute and storage platforms, breaking down traditional IT silos.

Mike Matchett

With the rise of software-defined storage, in which storage services are implemented as a software layer, the whole idea of data storage is being re-imagined. And with the resulting increase in the convergence of compute with storage, the difference between a storage platform and a data-processing platform is further eroding.

Storage takes new forms

Let’s look at a few of the ways that storage is driving into new territory:

  • Now in containers! Almost all new storage operating systems, at least under the hood, are being written as containerized applications. In fact, we’ve heard rumors that some traditional storage systems are being converted to containerized form. This has a couple of important implications, including the ability to better handle massive scale-out, increased availability, cloud-deployment friendliness and easier support for converging computation within the storage.
  • Merged and converged. Hyper-convergence bakes software-defined storage into convenient, modular appliance units of infrastructure. Hyper-converged infrastructure products, such as those from Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s SimpliVity and Nutanix, can greatly reduce storage overhead and help build hybrid clouds. We also see innovative approaches merging storage and compute in new ways, using server-side flash (e.g., Datrium), rack-scale infrastructure pooling (e.g., Drivescale) or even integrating ARM processors on each disk drive (e.g., Igneous).
  • Bigger is better. If the rise of big data has taught us anything, it’s that keeping more data around is a prerequisite for having the opportunity to mine value from that data. Big data distributions today combine Hadoop and Spark ecosystems, various flavors of databases and scale-out system management into increasingly general-purpose data-processing platforms, all powered by underlying big data storage tools (e.g., Hadoop Distributed File System, Kudu, Alluxio).
  • Always faster. If big is good, big and fast are even better. We are seeing new kinds of automatically tiered and cached big data storage and data access layer products designed around creating integrated data pipelines. Many of these tools are really converged big data platforms built for analyzing big and streaming data at internet of things (IoT) scales.

The changing fundamentals

Powering many of these examples are interesting shifts in underlying technical capabilities. New data processing platforms are handling more metadata per unit of data than ever before. More metadata leads to new, highly efficient ways to innovate …(read the complete as-published article there)

Scale-out architecture and new data protection capabilities in 2016

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchDataCenter.


January was a time to make obvious predictions and short-lived resolutions. Now is the time for intelligent analysis of the shark-infested waters of high tech. The new year is an auspicious time for new startups to come out of the shadows. But what is just shiny and new, and what will really impact data centers?

From application-focused resource management to scale-out architecture, here are a few emerging trends  that will surely impact the data center.

…(read the complete as-published article there)

Siloing stifles data center growth

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchDataCenter.

It’s time to knock down those silos, one by one. IT is transforming from a siloed set of reactive cost centers into a service provider with a focus on helping the business compete.


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In the old days of IT, admins built clear silos of domain expertise; IT infrastructure was complicated. Server admins monitored compute hosts, storage admins wrangled disks and network people untangled wires. Implementing parallel domains seemed like the best way to optimize IT. The theory was that you could run IT as efficiently as possible, allowing experts to learn specialized skills, deploy domain-specific hardware and manage complex resources.

Except that dealing with multiple IT domains was never optimal for anyone in the data center. When IT is organized into silos, anytime there is problem — troubleshooting application performance, competing for rack space, or allocating a limited budget — the resulting bickering, finger-pointing and political posturing wastes valuable time and money. And heterogeneous infrastructure is not very interoperable, despite standardized protocols and thorough vendor validation testing.

Navigating a byzantine organization just to try out new things can stifle business creativity and innovation, but things are beginning to change. There is a massive shift in IT organization and staffing…

…(read the complete as-published article there)

Converged Infrastructure in the Branch: Riverbed Granite Becomes SteelFusion

(Excerpt from original post on the Taneja Group News Blog)

With today’s rebranding of Riverbed Granite as SteelFusion, Riverbed is prodding all branch IT owners (and vested users) to step up and consider what branch IT should ideally look like. Instead of a disparate package of network optimization, remote servers and storage arrays, difficult if not foresworn data protection approaches, and independently maintained branch applications and IT support, simple converged SteelFusion edge appliances sit in the branch to provide local computing performance but work on “projected” data that is actually consolidated and protected back in the data center.

…(read the full post)