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2014 – A Look Forward….

As as we come to the end of another year, it is worth looking forward to see what if anything is going to change in the storage world next year because this year has pretty much been a bust as to innovation and radical new products.

So what is going to change?

I get the feeling not a huge amount.

Storage growth is going to continue for the end-users but the vendors are going to continue to experience a plateau of revenues. As end-users, we will expect more for our money but it will be mostly more of the same.

More hype around Software-Defined-Everything will keep the marketeers and the marchitecture specialists well employed for the next twelve months but don’t expect anything radical. The only innovation is going to be around pricing and consumption models as vendors try to maintain margins.

Early conversations this year point to the fact that the vendors really have little idea how to price their products in this space; if your software+commodity-hardware=cost-of-enterprise-array, what is in it for me?  If vendors get their pricing right; this could be very disruptive but at what cost to their own market position?

We shall see more attempts to integrate storage into the whole-stacks and we’ll see more attempts to converge compute, network and storage at hardware and software levels. Most of these will be some kind of Frankenpliance and converged only in shrink-wrap.

Flash will continue to be hyped as the saviour of the data-centre but we’ll still struggle to find real value in the proposition in many places as will many investors. There is a reckoning coming. I think some of the hybrid manufacturers might do better than the All-Flash challengers.

Hopefully however the costs of commodity SSDs will keep coming down and it’ll finally allow everyone to enjoy better performance on their work-laptops!

Shingled Magnetic Recording will allow storage densities to increase and we’ll see larger capacity drives ship but don’t expect them to appear in mainstream arrays soon; the vibration issues and re-write process is going to require some clever software and hardware to fully commercialise these. Still for those of us who are interested in long-term archive disks, this is an area worth watching.

FCoE will continue to be a side-show and FC, like tape, will soldier on happily. NAS will continue to eat away at the block storage market and perhaps 2014 will be the year that Object storage finally takes off.


  • disqus_Y9zhVrh3De

    While I agree that it looks like nothing technically radical is happening in
    2014, the pressure to reduce cost while the data grows will intensify. SSD,
    together with further virtualization and cloud, have not been showing the huge
    anticipated performance and cost savings they promised as they add further
    complexity to be managed. However, the combination of new technologies
    together with Infrastructure Performance Management tools give a true cost
    effective and enterprise class solution. You basically can’t have one without
    the other if you don’t want to excessively overprovision hardware – and
    this is what is becoming best practice.

    I also agree that FC is not going away anytime soon.

  • Steven Willson

    Martin, good points (and healthy dose of cynicism, I like it). Companies that buy and manage their own storage have arguably more choice in how to implement their strategies than ever. New vendors, new architectures, new platforms from established vendors. What is clear is that legacy storage models won’t survive another five years so infrastructure managers need to make strategic decisions in a more complex environment. This brings innovation too. Do they use software defined storage (overused tag of 2013) to integrate multi-vendor/platform approaches? Do they use database level data management (compression, replication, tiering etc), or do they solve it once (but arguably less efficiently) at the storage layer. Do Ithey bet on 16GB FC, or RDMA enabled 10GBe. Do they go FC or 10GB to ESX, or FCoE, or do they go SMB Direct to Hyper-V? Do they buy a fully integrated locked in network, compute, store stack….or do they buy best of breed openness….2014 will be very exciting and of course…entirely difficult to predict.

  • Molly Rector

    The total capacity of new shipments of tape storage technologies will continue to grow due to broad adoption of tape storage medium in new areas, such as active file archive, low-cost NAS storage, and as a deep archive offered by cloud providers, in addition to traditional uses in backup, disaster recovery and compliance.