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5 storage issues that will confront businesses this year

This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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Flash will make serious inroads and intelligent software will become more important

There is very little doubt that flash will be a major factor in the storage market this year, with most customers exploiting the benefits of flash performance in an economic way via hybrid storage systems. The focus will extend beyond flash hardware to intelligent software on top of flash to drive seamless integration with the virtualisation and application layers, allowing administrators to focus on managing VMs and application data, rather than just storage.

Increased adoption of VDI

Although virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been talked about for many years, only about 10 per cent of desktops have been virtualised to date. The availability of cost effective storage and greater adoption of mobile devices will help to increase this figure and VDI implementation will accelerate in 2014, especially in verticals such as financial services, healthcare, government and education.

More private clouds

While a lot of attention has been devoted to public cloud offerings from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, private clouds (dedicated clouds at customer sites or at service providers) have been growing at a fast rate in the background.
For many companies, a private cloud is the next phase of their adoption of virtualisation, providing an environment that delivers additional flexibility, self-service and reporting. Unlike public cloud environments like Amazon Web Services, applications don’t need to be rewritten to handle failures. Private cloud adoption is also expected to accelerate in production and development/test environments.

Focus on economic quality of service

With increased consolidation of physical infrastructure and the move to virtualised environments, more applications are sharing the same server, storage and networking resources. But sharing resources can lead to poor or unpredictable levels of service for individual applications.
While the hypervisor provides efficient quality of service (QoS) mechanisms for computing, the practice of over-provisioning to approximate QoS for storage and networking will become a problem for customers concerned that they are wasting resources. As a result, enterprise customers and service providers will place a major focus on QoS mechanisms for storage and networking this year.

Application-centric storage and software defined networking gain traction

With the efficiency of computing improving by an order of magnitude, making managing virtual machines a lot simpler than physical machines, the number of virtualised workloads will rise to more than 70 per cent in 2014. While storage and networking haven’t seen the same benefits as computing, the situation is changing.
The big drivers for IT will be improving storage efficiency, simplifying storage management for virtualised environments and improving the automation of data management. Application-centric storage will help to reduce Capex and management costs significantly. In the networking world, software defined networking (SDN) – conceptually similar to application-centric storage – will work in parallel to increase efficiency and reduce complexity.
All of these trends will play a part in helping customers on their journey through 2014.