(it’s not all flash)

Storage technology is silently making a major shift as it moves to an all-flash, AI-driven, software-defined, and automated model to better manage data protection systems. As a result, now is the perfect time to consider your existing storage infrastructure and if it needs a revamp to enable an environment that’s predictive, timeless, and supports future data growth and mobility. For example, you might consider replacing an aging data center infrastructure, incorporating AI into your storage stack, or revisiting your overall data protection strategy. While assessing your storage technology requirements, it might help to keep an eye on the trends that have attracted our attention, inspired by the predictions of our partner, HPE.

Flash storage adoption is on the rise

Flash storage is the new standard and its capabilities have a solid track record. We expect to see more and more organizations replace traditional spinning drives with SSDs that deliver higher performance, energy savings, space efficiency, and reduced overhead. Keep an eye out for a more integrated data protection stack that includes storage federation/automation, policy-based provisioning, and public cloud integration as storage professionals look to new, emerging technologies resulting from the flash revolution.

Multi-cloud is here to stay

Expect to see more meaningful data mobility between multiple clouds, including on-premises and public clouds from many different vendors. It’s not all about how quickly data can move from one place to another; it’s about getting the data into a position where it can be accessed by several, application-optimized compute environments – including various public clouds. Be confident that your on-premises storage is fully cloud-ready and up to speed to tackle the growing need for multi-cloud storage.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is going mainstream

Vendors who embrace the game-changing power of big data analytics will continue to differentiate their products and deliver measurable business impact for customers, leaning on AI for the heavy lifting. AI is on everyone’s mind as the best thing since sliced bread, and it is poised to create considerable opportunities to radically simplify data operations and automate complex manual tasks – saving time and money. AI is the future not only for storage but for all technology in the data center. Don’t be left behind without an AI strategy.

NVMe emerges with a new push for speed

Non-volatile memory express (NVMe) is an innovation born of the flash revolution. The use of NVMe is making waves, particularly as an alternative to SCSI-based interfaces designed to take advantage of flash media and next-generation solid-state technologies like Storage Class Memory (SCM). Prepare for more and more NVMe over SAS- and SATA-based SSDs and even watch for NVMe to make the leap from back end to the front end. The initial adoption of NVMe over RDMA-enabled Ethernet networks, known as NVMe over Fabrics, is starting to drive significant shifts in data speed and efficiency.

Storage and compute gain independence

The separation of storage from compute is somewhat of a new architectural approach, one that has emerged to tackle the challenges presented by data-intensive workloads. The hardware separation has been made possible by such trends as the emergency of low-latency networking and NVMe over fabrics. As storage media continues to become more and more affordable and durable, the separation of storage controllers from storage enclosures, along with the opportunity to more easily share data across multiple compute nodes for storage processing, is now possible. This type of architecture takes advantage of NVMe’s unique ability to accelerate workloads at the compute layer. Disaggregation will ultimately bring HPC-like performance to the mainstream enterprise, thanks in part to the use of NVMe over fabrics.

Integrated data protection emerges with a new purpose

As flash storage arrays revolutionize storage performance, efficiency, and administration, the flash storage revolution also creates a need for greater efficiency in protecting data from both internal and external threats. These could be any type of external malicious attacks or a result of application corruption, system failures, disasters, and even human errors. Businesses cannot afford to rely on disjointed and overlapping technologies to meet their data protection requirements. Instead, all eyes should be on integrated approaches to securing one of every business’s most valuable assets.

Storage solutions are becoming more software-defined

The coupling and decoupling of storage, compute, and networking has a long and intricate history with hardware becoming much further removed as software-defined management takes over. Expect a surge in software-defined storage and a push for simplicity, mainly through the adoption of hyperconvergence, which has been rapidly spreading across the storage industry.

Ethernet storage fabric is evolving

It’s a relatively simple fact – fast storage requires fast networking. The latest storage-optimized Ethernet switches are built to deliver reliable performance and ultra-low latency while boasting zero packet loss. Look for more investment in low-latency, high-bandwidth IP storage networks which will generate the speed required of today’s technology.  Ethernet networking has made grand progress in terms of its performance, pricing, and capabilities, and becomes a logical choice for those looking to modernize their storage network infrastructure – not just evaluating NVMe over fabrics. Ethernet storage fabrics can support converged, hyperconverged, software-defined, scale-out, and distributed storage as well as NVMe over fabrics, making storage network modernization more attractive than ever.

Storage class memory should (and will) influence future buying decisions

Storage class memory (SCM) is poised to give flash a run for its money. Even though it’s not exactly memory or exactly storage, SCM is starting to make big waves. The line between RAM and solid-state storage has been blurred, and there’s no going back. To leverage the full benefits of storage class media, significant architectural shifts must take place. Although the cost of storage class media will pose a barrier to immediate mass adoption, the pattern is a familiar one. IT leadership should strongly consider the architectural flexibility to incorporate SCM technologies as a purchasing criterion for any future storage array investments.

What’s next in storage?

No one can see the future, but we can get a glimpse by following trends that lead us to the next level of cost savings, speed, and efficiency. After all, storage technology is perhaps the most critical to a high-performing and continuously evolving organization. Help us stay on top of the next revolutionary trends to come our way. Post a comment here if you see something that may be around the corner.

For further information on deploying the right mix of storage tools to protect your data and your business, visit https://veristor.com/datacenter/enterprise-storage/