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Q&A: What does 2016 hold for enterprise storage?

2015 was a good year for enterprise storage. The continued rise in the rate at which we produce data has driven innovation and adoption of storage technologies in an unprecedented way. We have seen major advancements across the board and more opportunities for organisations to improve their business processes. We spoke to Steve Wharton, Office of the CTO for Enterprise Solutions EMEA at SanDisk, to find out what 2016 holds for enterprise storage.

1. How has the storage market evolved over the last few years?

The broad adoption of flash has caused the storage market to evolve over the last few years. Early shared storage products used flash as a hot tier, these were superseded by the emergence of hybrid and all flash arrays. Now the market is considering the benefits of moving beyond scale up storage architectures and examining the benefits of scale out, software defined and converged platforms. The efficiency and performance of flash is underpinning these efforts. In fact, the ability to remove I/O bottlenecks from these new architectures has really led to a lot of innovation in this market as product designers get to push their boundaries rather than fire fight mediocre performance.

2. What was the biggest trend in storage in 2015?

One of the biggest trends in 2015 has been the growth in All Flash Architectures. There’s been strong uptake in All Flash Arrays and this trend will continue for primary workloads but there was also the emergence of a new category of flash architecture - “Big Data Flash”. As workloads evolve, demanding massive scalability, high levels of availability, and an agility in how IT resources are allocated, this requires new architectures and new ways of thinking to meet increasingly stringent service levels. SanDisk’s InfiniFlash is designed for such environments with massive capacity and density – up to 512TB of flash in a 3U chassis. It is highly scalable, with enterprise class reliability whilst offering compelling storage economics of

3. Are there any particular trends you saw last year that you were not expecting?

It’s been interesting to see how prepared many customers were to run multiple types of storage in their environment. The hay-days of monolithic storage seem to be fading as customers are prepared to mix and match their storage platforms to meet the technical and commercial requirements of specific projects.

4. What is the biggest trend you expect to see in 2016?

3D technology will be the next wave for flash technology development. This will result in more storage inside laptops and smartphones, more speed and precision in Big Data processing and near real-time online experiences. The timing of this is perfect as it co-incides with increased momentum toward the Internet of Things (IoT) which will drive massive increases in data storage whilst demanding ever fast response times from information systems.

5. What are the biggest benefits of this trend?

Cost is ultimately what drives the speed of new technology adoptions. As the cost of flash declines, the rate of flash adoption in the enterprise will continue to grow as a result. There’s a whole host of practical benefits in moving to flash from other storage media once the price point of the flash technology meets the right price point for the use case.

6. What advice would you give to any business on their storage solutions?

Customers need to consider the full cost of not deploying flash in their data centres. The cost per GB of storage is only part of the story, power, cooling, rackspace and application licensing have a significant impact on the bottom line in a sprawling data centre.