As 2016 progresses, the data storage landscape will continue to shift, change, and evolve. So what storage market trends should you anticipate this year? Let’s take a look.
The market for hyper-converged solutions and infrastructure will see significant growth. In hyper-converged infrastructure, the storage controller function runs as a service on each of the nodes in the cluster. This ensures that integrated technologies can be managed as a single system through one common toolset, meaning that computing, storage, networking, and virtualization are all tied together into a single appliance. Overall, hyper-converged solutions are all about simplifying the data center by facilitating easier deployment and management, while also ensuring improved scalability and resilience. Because of the many advantages of hyper-converged solutions, it is likely that hyper-converged infrastructure will continue to replace traditional infrastructure as 2016 continues. As an added bonus, because hyper-converged infrastructure is specifically intended to boost the ability of IT to respond to an array of different business demands, while also cutting overall computing costs, the rise of hyper-converged solutions and infrastructure will minimize the labor associated with hardware integration and free things up for more experimentation and innovation in the realm of software.
Storage pricing will shift from backup to recovery. Traditionally, the cost of data storing has been determined on a per-GB or a per-TB basis. However, the cost of storing data—whether that storage is occurring in the cloud or locally—is getting closer and closer to zero. That means that storage pricing models will begin to shift from backup to recovery. In fact, a good number of data storage providers, including cloud providers like Google and Asigra, are now pricing storage based on how much data is recovered or restored—not how much data was stored. So expect to see a big change in pricing models in 2016.
Flash will become more accessible and put to use in new ways. Interest in flash over the course of the past few years has grown exponentially. However, in spite of the promise of excellent performance, because of high costs it has been used quite sparingly, largely saved specifically for cache and tier technologies or strategically used for isolated performance applications, for example databases. But that is changing, and the price of flash continues to drop. The worldwide flash-based market grew to a staggering $11.3 billion in 2014, and saw an impressive 101-percent year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2015 according to the IDC. This growth will only continue. In fact, flash sales are set to double this year. As a result of improved accessibility because of lower prices, new, innovative uses for flash will arise in 2016.
More and more storage vendors will support erasure encoding. Erasure encoding is a specific method of data protection that basically breaks the data into fragments and then stores it across different locations. As security becomes an ever-growing concern for enterprises across all sectors, expect more and more storage vendors to offer erasure encoding.
Software-defined data storage will become increasingly common. Software-defined storage basically separates the functionality of storage from underlying hardware, which makes it possible to configure storage devices on commodity hardware. This was originally pushed by smaller vendors, it is growing in popularity and is being increasingly adopted by larger vendors. Experts say that software-defined solutions will become increasingly popular among data storage clients, as these solutions will provide improved efficiency.
The hybrid cloud market will see significant growth. Public cloud storage has its advantages, but there is only so much it can do, especially in terms of security and minimizing long-term storage costs. Because of these limitations, the hybrid cloud will be hot in 2016. Organizations will rely on the capabilities of both the private cloud and the public cloud, leveraging the power of the public cloud at the end of the storage life cycle for workloads where performance isn’t an issue. Private storage clouds will be used simultaneously to handle high-performance and high-security workloads. According to Sandler Research, the hybrid cloud market is currently experiencing an annual compound growth rate of 29 percent—a growth rate that is expected to sustain until 2019.
Expect to see rise of the hybrid cloud data manager. In reaction to the continually transforming IT landscape, the function of storage admins will continue to evolve. As organizations continue to change to a cloud delivery model in order to cut costs and enhance flexibility, these storage admins and data managers will be less involved in building and operating their own data centers and more involved in brokering services that include both public cloud resources and private cloud resources. As a result, we’ll see the rise of the hybrid cloud data manager.
Microsoft will cut into the cloud storage market share, taking away from Amazon. As 2016 progresses, Microsoft will continue to grow its business storage cloud services with its Azure cloud, taking away from Amazon’s market share.
The bottom line is that the data storage market will continue to change and evolve to meet the emerging needs of businesses, enterprises, and organizations as 2016 progresses, from changing capacities to evolving cost models.