2016 was a stellar year. Unambiguous confirmation from the top analysts of our position as leader in the object storage industry, record-breaking revenue growth and massive numbers of new and upgrade installations have kept us very busy right up to New Year’s Eve. We did manage to slip in a little bit of quiet time at the beginning of the year and hope you have also had the opportunity to relax with friends and family.
Moving into 2017, we already foresee a continuation of the shifts in the storage industry. Accelerating change will require quick responses and continued smart thinking. From our experience, we have pulled together some thoughts on what we expect to see happening this year:
Enterprise IT moves past Hybrid Cloud to Multi-Cloud Focus
Seamlessly managing hybrid cloud – infrastructure which spans on-premises and cloud – is challenging for any data intensive application. Instead we will see business focus on a multi-cloud world. These multiple cloud environments will target different use cases with independent services. New management frameworks will be built to deliver single datacenter services to manage the IT policies and data assurance across multi-cloud.
Amazon will Dominate the Public Cloud and will Partner for Multi-Cloud
It will likely not surprise you that nobody will knock Amazon from its place as the top Cloud provider in the world. However, Amazon will embrace partners for Private Cloud Services who follow Amazon designs like the S3 interfaces for storage. Amazon will want to proliferate their development APIs as the standard cloud management/orchestration and data/storage services interfaces. For multi-cloud, this will mean they will partner with vendors who provide cloud infrastructures based on those API sets.
Emergence of the Data Control Layer
As companies move to multi-cloud, IT will need strong controls of data management and user management across clouds. A new Data Control Layer (DCL) will emerge to add governance and assurance capability to the data for enterprise businesses – ensuring secure encryption, access control and rich metadata services across multi-cloud environments. This Data Control Layer will provide complete control of your metadata and be fully integrated with your enterprise user directory system. As it emerges over the next year, this next-generation intelligent Data Control Layer will allow us to realize many of the promised yet elusive benefits of multi-cloud deployments: increased hardware and vendor independence, flexibility in customization, optimized performance and minimized latency, and sustainable reductions in TCO.
Convergence of Object Storage and Analytics
Today, people are adopting more object storage for their hundreds of terabytes to petabytes storage capacity needs. Moving this data outside of the storage for analysis is inefficient. Instead you will see the analytic layers embedded into the storage technologies.
The Rise of Metadata
Traditionally, enterprises have stored data through Network Attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Networks (SAN). These technologies were built to fit a need with application and data closely integrated and generally running on the same hardware rack. In 2017, we will see the rise of metadata with storage systems being used for the data and interesting metadata about that data. For example, Healthcare Electronic Medical Records (EMR systems), will store identifiable information like Patient Name, Address, Demographics etc. with the data itself. Metadata is key. We will see growing usage of data management via metadata for industries like Healthcare, Financial, and Media/Entertainment. The metadata will be indexed and searchable as part of the data storage layer.
Traditional Companies will use IoT to Enable Data to Drive Decisions
We will see the inexorable rise of the Internet of Things. Leading adopters of this technology will not only be the high-tech businesses but the more established manufacturing companies. As GE has already shown this year, traditional companies can deliver higher-value services to their customers by using IoT and thus understand more about their customers. IoT will dramatically grow in such staid industries as Transportation, Logistics, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Energy.
These shifts will result in further changes in technology use:
With favorable cost curves and the ability for data analytics, hard drives and flash storage will take over from tape for archive and backup applications. The same need for data analytics and large lower-cost memory environments will see the rise of in-memory analytics technology and Apache Spark. The Hadoop ecosystem will evolve to use Spark as the primary distributed analytics approach to the detriment of MapReduce.
We are very proud that so many of you continue to trust our products and us to help with your storage and application challenges. As you can see, 2017 will be a year of changes and challenges. We look forward to continuing to work with you to support you in successfully meeting these challenges.