Storage industry has evolved in recent years. We have seen more data, and different kinds of data, generated by enterprises in the recent past. However with addition of every single unit, enterprises are seeking the most effective and efficient ways to manage and exploit this data. Year 2015 was a momentous year for storage industry. We have seen some major shifts, changes and acquisition in this year which has set the upward path for this industry for coming years.

From faster and larger SSDs to the rise of white-box storage, this year brought a lot of variation and innovation to the storage industry. I would dedicate this year to flash storage as more enterprises have identified the tremendous value and opportunity that flash can bring to the storage world. I am confident that by the end of next year (2016), we’ll see flash products up to 10 TB, which will match the largest available hard drives. In 2015, we have also seen the containerization trend impacting the storage installations. However storage experts also suggested an alternative method to reduce the pressure on storage performance by using “Virtual SAN”. This alternative method distributes storage, with the drives co-resident with the server engines.

In some ways I see 2016 as setting up the platform for the upcoming storm in 2017 for storage industry, where the biggest architectural change is going to happen. However 2016 in itself will see some big things happening in storage industry. Some of them I have listed below.

All-Flash Data Center
An economic analysis points that in 2016 people will stop buying 15K and 10K hard drives. Flash will firmly establish itself in the role of primary storage. Enterprises have already started deploying SSDs for better server utilization in comparison to hard drives. Although I do not see hard drives getting extinguished, they will be around for a long time, but in 2016 they should be shifting to archival.

Software Defined Storage (SDS)
This is all set to be a key trend in storage industry. Being an enterprise if you have not considered deploying SDS, 2016 may very well be the year for you to decide. The deployment comes along with datacenter orchestration layers like OpenStack, which seems to have hit critical mass. We will observe a lot of converged systems being deployed in 2016, which will primarily rely on flash for performance of better management and abstraction.

NVMe will continue to grow, but until there are lots of drive bays to plug them into, it’s really hard to deploy NVMe. In 2016 we’ll see large amount of servers available with NVMe drive bays which will give a major push to this technology.

More Hyperscale
In 2016 we can assume almost 60% of the flash in datacenters will move into “Hyperscale” datacenters. Around 40% of flash consumption will go into enterprise, mostly through OEMs. Although enterprises are more than happy to spend on flash SSD solutions, Hyperscale environment has to be extremely cost-efficient. I am not surprised if I see an entries moving to 100% flash – no hard disks kind of environment, because it gives them more work / $ returns out of their entire IT spend. 2016 looks to be the year when many of these innovative technologies are put to the test and refined I’m excited to be part of the incredible IT industry that is helping them unfold.

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Anupam Bhide | Calsoft Inc.