Look to the future of hybrid flash and hyper converged: Data centres in 2016

Servers

Servers are set to change the way businesses address IT in 2016. With the rise of converged systems and software based data centres, companies must be sure that they can adapt to the ever changing technology environment. With 2016 already here, we’ve offered our predictions for what the server market will look like in the year ahead.

1. The rise of converged – Converged systems have created a shift in the way IT managers approach data centre management and a trend that will continue to gain traction, especially for small-office environments and organisations that need to address a quickly growing remote work-force.

The integration of servers, storage, networking, and management as part of a single chassis builds flexibility into key touch points of the data centre while keeping costs in check, allowing IT administrators to do more with less. The hyper-converged systems market is expected to experience continued growth in the next few years, with vendors and customers taking notice; 2016 is sure to bring the adoption of more converged solutions.

2. Software based data centre – There has been an evolution to the ‘Software Based Data Centre’ from the ‘Software Defined Data Centre,’ and it will continue to grow. With a software based data centre, servers become the centre piece with software running on them. The next-generation data centre infrastructure will be both software-defined and software-based due to the transformational effect next-generation Non-Volatile memory technologies will have on the data centre. As a result of this fundamental shift, there will be specialised clouds focused on the needs of specific industry verticals, such as Healthcare and Telco, which will require a next-generation of cloud technology to be developed. This change will happen over the next several years, with timing changes on how fast this happens depending on the industry.

3. Systems management approach - The increase in server density combined with the constraint of IT resources has made automated management capabilities a critical component of IT operations. Administrators need repeatable and scalable provisioning capabilities that eliminate the error-prone and time-consuming manual processes of configuring server subsystems such as storage, networking, and BIOS. The New Year will have administrators looking to save time and gain efficiency using the systems management approach.

Storage

After a busy and fruitful year, storage in the data centre is preparing to go mainstream in 2016. The decreasing cost of hybrid flash means that companies of all shapes and sizes are making the most of this powerful technology, and IT administrators are under pressure to optimise it for their own data centre. To stay one step ahead and keep up with the momentum, organisations must ensure that they are deploying flexible and adaptable solutions. However, just as customers will adapt, the IT industry will also undergo changes to reflect the rise of hybrid flash as a serious competitor in the data centre. With 2016 just around the corner, we’ve provided our vision of the hybrid flash data centre and industry below, with five predictions for the coming twelve months.

1. Value is top priority – For the foreseeable future, IT costs will continue to grow and budgets will continue to shrink, forcing IT professionals to seek better value across the board. For storage, they will utilise the cost reductions that hybrid flash provides, with storage tiering and thin provisioning for better long term total cost of ownership (TCO). For 2016, IT professionals will seek better efficiency within storage to get more for their money.

2. Flash is mainstream – With its tiered optimised costs and more than one type of flash option, we will see flash arise in data centres across the enterprise in 2016. With the overall cost of hybrid flash decreasing in 2015, this makes it more widely available to customers with a much improved £ / GB value. So next year, we will see a wider audience, such as the small-medium business market (SMB), implement it. The adoption of TLC will also make flash more appealing to customers.

3. All-flash consolidation – As the hybrid flash market continues to grow, we will begin to see the consolidation of flash-only companies. These all-flash companies will either be acquired by larger storage vendors, or drop from the market altogether. Hybrid flash is the new darling on the storage block, and will continue to be as they offer more options and their prices continue to drop, making it more appealing to IT professionals.

4. SDS becomes a mainstay – Today, line of business (LOB) owners have a new variety of applications and needs that are driving changes in how they acquire IT services. As a result, IT administrators are under constant pressure to make IT infrastructure more nimble to adapt to these and other changing business requirements. Otherwise, they may find LOB owners taking control of their IT budgets and making decisions that run in parallel to the formal IT organisation. Next year we will continue to see storage vendors adding new solution capabilities and delivering new architectures and deployment models focused on SDS that will drive the design of next-generation storage systems. Those organisations will look to combine the traditional approach with the new approach to storage in 2016.

5. Converged momentum – Converged systems have changed the way people approach technology. Over the past few years IT budgets have continued to shrink, forcing IT administrators to look for ways to cut costs. They have started to take converged systems into consideration and in 2016 they will become a full-fledged reality in the data centre. Convergence first hit the early adopters and it will now hit the broad contenders. More vendors and customers will start investing in it next year, adding to the overall growth in the data centre marketplace.

Peter Barnes, director, Enterprise Solutions, Dell UK

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