Here at TECHUNPLUGGED London, storage expert, blogger and consultant Chris Evans (@chrismevans) discussed next generation storage, and set the scene by discussing how he would like to see storage technologies develop in the future. He focussed on some key ideas:

  • Quality of Service
  • Pain-free migration
  • Ultra efficiency
  • Automated management and configuration
  • Policy-based management
  • Hardware agnostic design
  • Protocol agnostic architecture
  • Cost efficiency

These themes bring with them particular technical requirements, ranging from the ability to cope with ever growing scale (petabyte-scale users are no longer uncommon), speed – he argued that storage is the major bottleneck in systems, and performance – storage performance historically hasn’t kept pace with CPU performance.

He went on to describe the importance of factoring in data diversity, in that data is coming from ever more diverse sources and is growing exponentially. He also touched on the idea of flexibility – storage technology must cater to multiple data profiles, multiple access profiles and multiple use cases.

Underpinning his discussion were some major themes:

  • Technology divergence – lots of separate platforms are coming to market for differing requirements, with specialist solutions for specific data types
  • Technology convergence – approaches such as hyper converged solutions look to remove dedicated storage appliances, for example.  The industry is very dynamic in that divergence/convergence often co-exist concurrently
  • The importance and popularity of flash technology

The storage market today is seeing a variety of approaches from flash, hybrid and scale-out vendors, to object stores, software defined and data aware technologies.  As for the role of cloud, key questions include: how much of my data really needs to be within the data center? Is the cloud secure enough? Is it cost effective enough?

In concluding, his summary advice was for customers to:

  • Start with their requirements
  • See the bigger picture – don’t do storage in isolation
  • Evaluate their options – create a test environment
  • Use online resources – the wisdom of the crowd applies to the storage market
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