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Stephen Foskett

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What Will 2010 Bring To Enterprise Storage?

But the turn of the year is a time of optimism, so I will take my turn at the megaphone to dish out some ideas

I'm loathe to give predictions, preferring introspection and outright silliness. But the turn of the year is a time of optimism, so I will take my turn at the megaphone to dish out some ideas I believe will come to pass in the coming year.

2010 will be a year of normalization (“righting the ship”) for enterprise IT : We will see a return to investment and building out new features after a year of financial panic. IT will begin again to focus on what they do well and continue to outsource everything else – including non-core applications. Without the threat of financial doom, IT folks will be willing to take more risks than in 2009, feeling that their jobs are no longer on edge.

With regard to enterprise storage, I think a few trends are particularly interesting:

  1. Increasing virtualization drives higher I/O demands – VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V can now push the big I/O required by databases and other taxing applications, and these will be virtualized (finally) in 2010. This in turn will demand more storage I/O, so we’ll see increasing use of SAN arrays even at the low end of the market.
  2. Expansion of SANs for SMB – As smaller environments (and smaller apps within large environments) virtualize more, they’ll start looking for intelligent, higher-performance SAN storage. This means a bonanza for vendors of iSCSI and sub-$20k storage devices!
  3. Increasing use of archiving – Businesses of all sizes are interested in archiving for compliance and data management reasons, so the use of archiving software, hardware, and services will explode. I expect managed archiving services to be particularly interesting since this has never been a core focus of IT.
  4. Pushing up the stack – Every area of IT is “moving up the stack” with tighter application integration, and this will continue as new technologies come to market. I expect special-purpose storage solutions (software, hardware, and services) integrated with applications (like Exchange, SharePoint, SAP, etc) to be a real focus for 2010.
  5. The end of FC disks – Flash and automated tiering will combine with SAS to spell doom for traditional high-performance disk drives. We’ll see array vendors switch en-masse to larger capacity drives with SAS and increasing amounts of cache RAM and flash in storage systems throughout 2010. 2011 and beyond might see the end of high-performance disks altogether as SSD becomes entrenched.
  6. The advent of extreme tiering – We’ll see flash, SAS, and cloud storage combined into super tiered storage systems, with a number of solutions appearing to cache, balance performance and capacity, and replicate data off-site. Virtualization will meld with cloud front-ends and automated tiering to become extreme tiering devices. This won’t be mainstream until 2011 at the earliest, but it’ll start happening this year.
  7. Still not the year of converged networks – Although Cisco, EMC, and the rest will push hard for 10 GbE, DCB, and FCoE, it will not make a significant impact in IT spend through 2010. But 10 GbE will be deployed successfully in high-I/O environments (see number 1). ISCSI will continue its quiet rise, though.

What do you think 2010 will bring?

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Stephen Foskett has provided vendor-independent end user consulting on storage topics for over 10 years. He has been a storage columnist and has authored numerous articles for industry publications. Stephen is a popular presenter at industry events and recently received Microsoft’s MVP award for contributions to the enterprise storage community. As the director of consulting for Nirvanix, Foskett provides strategic consulting to assist Fortune 500 companies in developing strategies for service-based tiered and cloud storage. He holds a bachelor of science in Society/Technology Studies, from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.