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Predictions for Cloud Storage in 2010

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2010?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Sajai Krishnan, CEO of ParaScale

Predictions for Cloud Storage in 2010

2009 is the year that cloud storage became the much-hyped buzz word.  Previously, when users thought of cloud-ware they were thinking about cloud applications like SalesForce and Google Apps, cloud computing services like Amazon EC2, or cloud storage like Amazon S3. In 2009 users were presented with a lot of choice, especially with cloud computing and cloud storage. We saw two driving trends.  First, the arrival of private cloud storage options with increasing choices for businesses looking to deploy their own storage clouds inside the firewall.  Second, a rapid proliferation of public cloud storage service options with many service providers coming to market with varied services competing with a market-leading Amazon S3.  2010 promises to bring with it even more excitement and advances in cloud computing and storage.  For instance, in 2010:

1) Cloud becomes an action verb - We've already seen "Cloud" taken to new heights as an overused adjective and noun. In 2010, marketers will outdo themselves by clouding the landscape with more product names and descriptions. We will see an unprecedented number of vendors Cloud perceptions with new descriptions on yesterday's products. Admittedly, this prediction is a tongue-in-cheek, but unfortunately fairly close to the mark. 2010 will require the industry to be more descriptive of actual functionality and benefits for the various types of cloud offerings.

2) Commodity hardware starts to displace proprietary storage. In 2010, the theme of "intelligence migrating into software" continues with continued hardware commoditization. Just as Linux displaced expensive server gear with its attractive commodity footprint, Linux-based cloud storage will displace expensive legacy storage for the same reason. What VMware/Xen started with server virtualization continued into networking with software firewalls, load balancers and the like; and in 2010 private cloud storage is going to drive it into the storage domain. While all storage vendors claim to use commodity hardware, in reality they are all essentially closed solutions qualified on two or three commodity boxes. Customers are locked into stovepipes with little ability to truly benefit from Moore's law by selecting from the thousands of commodity servers available at any given point and at multiple points of purchase. As an open-platform, Linux-based cloud storage is not only inexpensive but is highly scalable and easy to manage. In 2010, when the finance department tells the storage group, "I bought a terabyte for $80 this weekend; how come you have to pay $2,000?" The manager can respond, "Yes, we use commodity storage in our private storage cloud too."

3) Server Virtualization will drive Private Cloud Storage adoption in the Enterprises. Virtualization has driven huge efficiencies in organizations. Server virtualization enables the sharing of compute resources across applications and provides the flexibility to easily transport workloads to optimize for performance and cost. With server virtualization, organizations are free to take advantage of low-cost commodity hardware and aren't tied to proprietary linkage of the OS and the hardware platform. The weak link today is the storage infrastructure behind virtualized servers. Most storage for virtualized compute environments (and cloud computing) rely on a SAN and some Tier1 storage vendors even call this kind of storage associated with cloud computing cloud storage . Cloud Storage that virtualizes file systems on top of commodity hardware replace the SAN requirement and complement the Cloud Compute layer in organizations. The need to eliminate the SAN bottleneck and automate provisioning, configuration, management and recovery across the compute and storage tier will drive enterprises to begin to adopt cloud storage into their environments.

4) The Storage Middle Tier Emerges -The strategic importance of a low-cost, self-managing, petabyte scale tier that provides a platform for analysis and integrated applications emerges in organizations with large stores of file data. These organizations that are investing heavily in new tier1 storage and moving aged data to archive will experiment with a middle tier that leverages low cost commodity hardware and provides read/write access. This middle tier will provide opportunity for administrators to automate storage management and optimize for performance and cost, but at a much lower expense. This middle tier will also support large scale analysis while eliminating related data migration and administrative tasks. The emerging middle tier will also provide an integration layer with service provider cloud offerings. The similar architectures enable "cloud bursting," the seamless ability for service providers to offer spillover capacity and compute to enterprises.

5) Opex, not Capex will emerge as the most important criteria driving storage purchases.  Management and operating costs will figure much more prominently in storage decisions in 2010. Maintenance costs on existing gear will be under heavy review with the emergence of commodity-based hardware storage options. Customers will look for a storage platform that is self-managed, including the ability to monitor, configure, manage and heal itself. A recent Enterprise Strategy Group survey identified that businesses are trying to reduce their operating costs (OPEX) more than capital expenses (CAPEX).

About the Author

Sajai Krishnan is CEO of ParaScale, a Silicon Valley leader in developing cloud storage software solutions.  Krishnan drives overall strategy and business execution for ParaScale. Before ParaScale, he was General Manager of the StoreVault Division of NetApp, responsible for creating and developing the division's multi-national efforts within the mid-market segment. StoreVault won more industry awards than any other product in NetApp history, and VARBusiness magazine awarded its channel program five stars, placing it in the top bracket in 2008. Prior to this appointment, Krishnan was the General Manager of NetApp's Storage Management Software business, overseeing the company's core management software offerings. Before joining NetApp, Krishnan was vice president at management consultant Booz Allen & Hamilton, and was a partner in the company's Communications, Media & Technology (CMT) practice. While there he served clients in the wireless, software, telecommunications, cable, networking, and systems arenas. Krishnan started his career as a software engineer at Sun Microsystems. Krishnan has an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in addition to a master's degree in computer science from Rice University. His B.S. is in electronics engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.

Published Tuesday, December 08, 2009 5:45 AM by David Marshall
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