Survey Spotlights Top 5 Data Storage Pain Points

An IT industry analyst article published by Enterprise Storage Forum.


by Mike Matchett,

The Enterprise Storage Forum survey uncovered the biggest challenges storage professionals have with their existing storage infrastructure: aging gear, lack of capacity, high operations cost, security, maintenance burden. We’ll discuss which storage technologies available or coming soon might serve to ease those pain points.

Data storage has been around as long as computing, but based on the Enterprise Storage Forum survey, we have yet to solve all the problems. Entitled Data Storage Trends 2018, the survey reveals that storage professionals face no lack of serious concerns.

One of the interesting charts that jumped out at me is about the biggest challenge in operating current storage infrastructure. In essence, this is the “select your biggest pain” question. Let’s dive in.

Top Five Data Storage Challenges
Why are these ever-present data storage challenges? Why haven’t storage vendors researched technologies and nailed down solutions to solve them? This chart illustrates the leading pain points; we’ll look at the top five:

http://www.enterprisestorageforum.com/imagesvr_ce/9011/biggest%20challenge%20chart.png

1. Aging gear: Of course, no matter when you invest in new equipment, it starts aging immediately. And once deployed, storage, and the data stored on it tends to sit in the data center until it reaches some arbitrary vendor end-of-life (EOL) stage. With working storage the motto tends to be – “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!”

Still, once something like storage is deployed, the capex is a sunk cost. Aging storage should probably be replaced long before full obsolescence comes along; significant attribute improvements are likely available on the market at any large storage’s “half-life.” These include better performance and agility, cheaper operating costs and upgrades, increased capacity and new features.

Here, I can’t blame storage vendors for lack of improved storage offerings. From flash engineered designs to software-defined agility, the storage landscape is full of opportunistic (and large ROI) “refresh” solutions. Proactive storage managers might think to replace their storage “ahead of time” as the scales tip in favor of new solutions, rather than sit back and wait for the traditional “five year” accounting-based storage refresh cycle.

2. Lack of Storage Capacity: Yes, data is still growing. In fact, data growth can be non-linear, which makes it hard to plan ahead. Unable to keep up with capacity demand, many organizations now rely on that elastic storage provider, cloud, hybrid cloud or even multi-cloud storage services – which can get pricey!

We may be doomed to suffer this pain point forever, but some newer storage technologies are being designed to scale-out “for a long time” with linear performance…(read the complete as-published article there)

Survey Results: Cloud Storage Takes Off, Flash Cools Off

An IT industry analyst article published by Enterprise Storage Forum.


article_cloud-storage-takes-off-flash-cools-off
By Mike Matchett,

The Enterprise Storage Survey results show that the biggest storage budget line item is cloud storage, although HDDs still hold more data. We explore why cloud is inevitably winning, and when the actual tipping point might come about.

Is on-premise storage dead? Is all storage inevitably moving to the cloud? If you work in IT these days, you are no doubt keeping a close eye on the massive changes afoot in storage infrastructure these days. Flash acceleration, hyperconvergence, cloud transformation – where is it all going and how soon will it get there?

We explored the past, present and future of enterprise storage technologies as part of our recent Storage Trends 2018 survey.

The Dominance of Cloud Storage
The short story is that cloud storage has now edged out the ubiquitous hard drive as the top budget line item in IT storage spending (see below). We are not sure if this is good news or bad news for IT, but it is clear that those cloud-heavy IT shops have to get on top of and actively manage their cloud storage spending.

storage survey

Despite having cloud move into the lead for slightly more than 21% of companies, the game is not over yet for on-premise storage solutions. Flash has still not run it’s full course and HDDs are still the top budget item today for almost as many companies (21%) as cloud.

New innovations in solid-state like NVMe are providing even greater acceleration to data center workloads even as SDD prices continue to drop. As silicon price drops, total spending inherently skews towards more expensive technologies – the footprint will grow even if the relative spend doesn’t keep pace…(read the complete as-published article there)

Future of data storage technology: Transformational trends for 2018

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchStorage.


article_Future-of-data-storage-technology-Transformational-trends-for-2018
Risk-averse enterprises finally accepted the cloud in 2017, and we didn’t even notice. Expect the same for these data storage technology trends in the new year.

Mike Matchett
Small World Big Data

Sometimes big changes sneak up on you, especially when you’re talking about the future of data storage technology. For example, when exactly did full-on cloud adoption become fully accepted by all those risk-averse organizations, understaffed IT shops and disbelieving business executives? I’m not complaining, but the needle of cloud acceptance tilted over sometime in the recent past without much ado. It seems everyone has let go of their fear of cloud and hybrid operations as risky propositions. Instead, we’ve all come to accept the cloud as something that’s just done.

Sure, cloud was inevitable, but I’d still like to know why it finally happened now. Maybe it’s because IT consumers expect information technology will provide whatever they want on demand. Or maybe it’s because everything IT implements on premises now comes labeled as private cloud. Influential companies, such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, are happy to help ease folks formerly committed to private infrastructure toward hybrid architectures that happen to use their respective cloud services.

In any case, I’m disappointed I didn’t get my invitation to the “cloud finally happened” party. But having missed cloud’s big moment, I’m not going to let other obvious yet possibly transformative trends sneak past as they go mainstream with enterprises in 2018. So when it comes to the future of data storage technology, I’ll be watching the following:

Containers arose out of a long-standing desire to find a better way to package applications. This year we should see enterprise-class container management reach maturity parity with virtual machine management — while not holding back any advantages containers have over VMs. Expect modern software-defined resources, such as storage, to be delivered mostly in containerized form. When combined with dynamic operational APIs, these resources will deliver highly flexible programmable infrastructures. This approach should enable vendors to package applications and their required infrastructure as units that can be redeployed — that is, blueprinted or specified in editable and versionable manifest files — enabling full environment and even data center-level cloud provisioning. Being able to deploy a data center on demand could completely transform disaster recovery, to name one use case.

Everyone is talking about AI, but it is machine learning that’s slowly permeating through just about every facet of IT management. Although there’s a lot of hype, it’s worth figuring out how and where carefully applied machine learning could add significant value. Most machine learning is conceptually made up of advanced forms of pattern recognition. So think about where using the technology to automatically identify complex patterns would reduce time and effort. We expect the increasing availability of machine learning algorithms to give rise to new storage management processes. These algorithms can produce storage management processes that can learn and adjust operations and settings to optimize workload services, quickly identify and fix the root causes of abnormalities, and broker storage infrastructure and manage large-scale data to minimize cost.

Management as a service (MaaS) is gaining traction, when looking at the future of data storage technology. First, every storage array seemingly comes with built-in call home support replete with management analytics and performance optimization. I predict that the interval for most remote vendor management services to quickly drop from today’s daily batch to five-minute streaming. I also expect cloud-hosted MaaS offerings are the way most shops will manage their increasingly hybrid architectures, and many will start to shift away from the burdens of on-premises management software…(read the complete as-published article there)

Cloud, IoT to drive enterprise IT trends in 2017

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchCloudComputing.


article_Cloud-IoT-to-drive-enterprise-IT-trends-in-2017
Cloud computing has evolved quite a bit in the last few years, but it still has far to go. Technologies such as big data, containers and IoT will have a big part to play in the future.

Mike Matchett

Yes, it’s a brand new year and time to make some Next Big Thing predictions for the year to come. This year, our outline of what’s on the immediate horizon is already well known: hybrid cloud adoption, big data applications and containers. Looking a little further out at enterprise IT trends, we might see the first practical persistent storage-class memory begin to disrupt 30 years of traditionally structured data center infrastructure. And expect a hot smoking internet of things mess of requirements to land in the lap of IT folks everywhere.

All of these topics are, of course, highly interrelated. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that many organizations will have to bite the bullet on all five at the same time to handle a new internet of things (IoT) data processing application. But let’s take a quick look at each:

Cloud adoption. I am as guilty as the next pundit in predicting when cloud adoption will finally be considered a “traditional” deployment model. But this time I really mean it! VMware is demonstrating cross-cloud products. Microsoft is making real hay rolling traditional businesses, large and small, into software as a service, likeOffice365, and infrastructure as a service, like Azure. And all our favorite storage vendors are realizing that building in a cloud tier won’t shrink on-premises storage needs given the growth in data and hybrid technologies that balance and marry the best benefits of both cloud and on-premises processing.

Big data. Hadoop is a decade old now. With newer generation platforms like Apache Spark making it easier to deploy and consume big data interactively for SQL-friendly business analysis, real-time operations, machine learning and even graph-based applications, it’s time for us all to get on board this train. As I’ve said, all data can grow up into big data someday. One of the top enterprise IT trends we’ve noticed is less concern about what big data is and more focus on getting maximum value out of all that data. In fact, I predict that data access — or data paucity — will become a new corporate key performance indicator in the future.

Containers. Having predicted the fast rise of containers last year, I claim some victory here against naysayers. Containers have won even if they aren’t in production everywhere yet. Yes, there are some major issues yet to be resolved for the regular, not quite DevOps, IT organization. Many apps will never transition to containers — just like how we will have mainframe applications and VM-based appliances hanging around for decades — but open the hood of every modern application, appliance, cloud or software-defined infrastructure, and you’ll likely find containers. In fact, most of the newest enterprise IT trends covered above – especially cloud and big data — are internally powered by container-based development and deployment.

Containers have won even if they aren’t in production everywhere yet.

…(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)