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8 Emerging Storage Trends of 2018

2018 Storage Trends

Have you ever noticed that we, as humans, like to accumulate stuff? Renowned Comedian George Carlin was quoted in one of his routines as saying, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” How true is that? Thinking about your storage strategies for your data centers, are you in a situation where you’re just accumulating more stuff?

With the year coming to a close, I thought it would be a good time to help you with your “stuff” by highlighting eight prominent storage trends that emerged in 2018.

1. Artificial Intelligence

One of the most exciting advances in technology is in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). You can hardly watch television for a few hours without witnessing a commercial pitching AI. Cognitive analytics is the backbone of AI, and storage technology is no stranger to this area either. Many manufacturers are utilizing the power of big data analytics, allowing them to differentiate their offerings. Differentiation allows manufacturers to immediately set in gear a mechanism that delivers business impact and change for customers.

AI will result in very large opportunities that will drastically simplify operations and also allow for the automation of very complex manual tasks. With that said, the manual complex tasks will also be much easier to maintain with the “learned knowledge” that comes from AI. Companies should always consider a manufacturers’ direction when it comes to using AI in their product offerings. It will be a game changer.

2. Flash Storage

I’ve been reading many articles on flash storage advances. If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a massive scale adoption of flash storage currently in progress. The features of SSDs include reduction in management, data protection with security, energy and space savings, and better performance.

Additionally, many technologies will be built directly into devices, such as storage federation and automation, policy-based provisioning and integration with the cloud. One of the top concerns amongst data center executives is cost, and flash storage will help in this area by providing significant power and cooling cost savings compared to traditional forms of storage.

3. Predictive Storage Analytics

Predictive storage analytics will eventually overtake traditional forms of storage monitoring. More and more manufacturers are streaming mass amounts of data into forms of operational analytics to better guide decision making in the data center. Understanding the behavior of the storage devices based on real-time analytics allows data centers to better utilize devices and make better decisions on purchases and future demands for storage. This is especially helpful with cloud applications as it allows the cloud data center to better understand demand.

4. Big Data Analytics

By 2020,it’s predicted that roughly 60 to 70 percent of Fortune 2000 companies will be utilizing some form of big data analytics in their organizations. This will lead to increased demand of storage devices and associated technologies to process and store this data.

One technology known as non-volatile memory express (NVMe) utilizes the host computer’s PCI express bus within the SSD. This technology can increase performance and lowers latency. Using the NVMe takes your flash storage technology to the next level as it takes advantage of massive parallelization of SSDs. This technology also helps preserve high bandwidth, giving you the power to handle massive amounts of commands and queues. Big data analytics drives this technology to new levels as it gives users the ability to process mass amounts of storage data at lightning speed.

5. Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) data places a very large amount of stress on the storage environment. This is data that must be collected. It’s not the core data, but rather the fringe data or data on the edge that’s collected and utilized. Think of the data generated from your WiFi devices like smart thermostats, voice activated assistants, home automation and security systems. It’s a ton of data that contains stories on usage by the customer. For example, I have my home automated and there’s a large amount of data that’s readily available for programming.

Manufacturers are looking to capitalize on what this data is telling them from a behavioral use point of view. It’s valuable when thinking about new product innovation and differentiation of a product line. Ultimately, IoT data will stretch the boundaries of typical storage environments.

6. Decentralized Compute

It’s been an obvious trend for years to move computing power of the central location of the CPU. What I mean by that is distributed processing of data and a move to decentralize the processing. This pushes out workloads that can be processed in other locations of the system. Driving this in storage has to do with where the data is stored (i.e. on premise, on devices at the fringe of the network or in the cloud).

With such massive amounts of data, bandwidth can be a problem and thus is driving the move to put the processing power closer to the data’s location. New technologies have evolved that lead to new, more powerful and energy efficient CPUs. Other technologies allow for the portability of computing resources to live with the data.

7. Cloud Storage Strategies

Much like a mainframe has the ability to protect itself from outages via Global Data Parallel Sysplex (GDPS) and Metro Mirroring, utilizing multiple cloud storage strategies can protect a business from data driven outages and data loss. More businesses will utilize hybrid delivery models, storing their data across many clouds.

This is a system that uses flexible storage technologies and greatly increases your efficiencies by utilizing data places across public, private and hybrid cloud locations. Doing this also increases access to your data via the multiple cloud storage strategy.

8. Hyper Converged Storage

There’s a greater focus on using secondary storage to optimize primary storage capacity. Utilizing secondary storage devices releases primary storage and leaves data much more accessible to other applications. This strategy also allows an organization to better utilize older data for big analytic opportunities.

Utilizing hyper-converged infrastructure for storage will allow businesses to discover flexibility and convenience that house-built infrastructures don’t deliver. And while hyper-converged strategies do indeed cost more, the underlying benefits far exceed the value of these additional costs. For example, Automated Storage Tiering (AST) can be used to dynamically move data between various forms of disk storage while taking into consideration the parameters of performance and cost.

Looking Forward

So, how’s your “stuff” doing? Do any of these current trends in storage provide an answer to some of the issues you’re having? I think it’s safe to say that storage technology continues to grow at a very fast pace. With the many advances in technology, I’m sure there will be many more exciting changes to come.

Patrick Stanard is a mainframe integration architect for IBM Global Technology Services. He’s a 35 year professional in the industry spanning roles as a systems programmer, developer, manager, business unit executive, affiliate faculty member and director of operations. He has a Bachelor of Science in CIS from Saginaw Valley State University and an MBA from Michigan State University.

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