Flash and HDD make peace and disk dominates tape: What we expect from 2016

Businesses have now realised the true value of the data they collect, and the pivotal role it plays in informing intelligent business decisions. As a result, businesses today are looking to collect more and more information, and in turn, their need for data storage is growing exponentially. However, as we enter 2016, our research shows that businesses are also increasingly preoccupied with not just the quantity but the quality of that data storage. Results from Western Digital Corporation’s 2nd annual global survey of CIOs and IT decision makers, found that reliability now outranks cost as the most important consideration when investing. This reflects an attitude shift as the importance of protecting valuable data overcomes budget anxieties.

Data storage technology is advancing to accommodate changing business needs. Advanced architectures can now enable data to be accessed easily and cost-effectively to transform data into a competitive advantage. Using this technology, data-driven organisations can extract more value from their operational and historical data.

As we enter an exciting transitory time for data, we share Western Digital Corporation’s crystal gazing predictions on industry big bets:

  • China will emerge as the new cloud computing powerhouse

Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi and 21vianet are leading a pack of cloud service and data centre providers that are investing billions of dollars in infrastructure to serve the massive demand for cloud services in China and abroad. Driven by the exponential growth in data, government initiatives, such as “Internet Plus,” and the country’s rapid ascent as an economic and modernisation superpower, China is poised for rapid investment into next generation technologies and data center architectures. 2016 promises to be a breakout year for the world’s most populace country as it continues its transformation.

  • The ‘storage wars’ rhetoric between Flash and HDD is over

The market is finally stabilising and the rhetoric of “All-Flash or nothing” will finally die. As the market bifurcates into fast-data and big-data solutions to contend with the volume, velocity, variety and longevity of data, the industry and users will acknowledge that both solid-state and spinning disks are essential to the future of a data-centric world.

  • The use of disk will surpass tape for modern archive solutions

Reliance on tape has snapped. Today, we live in a world of data abundance versus data scarcity. To capture its value, we can no longer have our data sit and be idle to capture its value. The need for rapid access to data across locations and platforms is exacerbating inaccessibility problems. Organisations will require persistent and easy access to data archives. Archives will become accessible in near real-time, ending the reliance on tape and ushering in a place for active archives on disks that are always accessible.

  • Federated data will drive your competitive edge

While we’ve spent the better portion of 2015 talking about the obscene growth of data, many of these datasets continue to grow in isolation. The ability to aggregate, share and blend data sets will enable smarter algorithms for more powerful insights and real-time response. Those companies that can set a direction toward a collective knowledge base with a federated data infrastructure will truly extend their competitive edge.

  • The value you harness from your data will be judged by the street

Similar to how investment analysts assess competitiveness and performance potential through insights on asset utilisation, we will begin to see a new focus on how organisations leverage their data to drive growth, profitability and shareholder value. Think of it as the new Data Leverage Index or Return on Data. 2016 will see a shift as wise investors demand that companies become increasingly data driven.

CIOs are under continual pressure to improve storage efficiencies while reducing costs. The ‘do more with less’ mentality will be a constant thread across organisations. This means the standard for efficiency, performance and scalability will be under close scrutiny. To thrive in this ‘storage wars’ era, businesses that want to succeed will need to extract greater value from the data they own, quickly and at scale.

Dave Tang, senior vice president at Western Digital Corporation

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