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SwiftStack 2018 Predictions: Cloud Storage in 2018 - Predictions for a New Era in the Information Age

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Mario Blandini, VP Marketing, SwiftStack

Cloud Storage in 2018 - Predictions for a New Era in the Information Age

If anyone needs a reminder as to disruption in how vendors serve IT organizations, look no further than these two statements of fact:

1.  The operating profit from Amazon's cloud computing unit more than made up for the operating loss of its other business units, ensuring the company remained in the black and helping to keep its stock prices high

2.  Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is, at the present time, the richest man in the world thanks in large part to the company's aforementioned high stock price

So, basically, the cloud keeps Amazon's stock sky high and Bezos' fortunes on Cloud 9.

Anyone that's been paying attention the past several years has seen the importance of the cloud in the IT industry and its impact on vendors that serve IT. Many vendors have been trying their best to shift their solutions focus from on-premises to cloud-native with varied success. 2018 will be a year when vendors must go beyond simply leveraging "the cloud" to complement their legacy on-premises infrastructure, and instead prove that "cloud-first" strategies are genuinely architected such that anything on-premises instead serves to complement cloud infrastructure.

No Longer "The" Cloud

Bezos would certainly like you to believe that the Amazon Web Services is the only cloud option in existence, but other tech behemoths including Google and Microsoft have made it clear that Amazon is not the only game in town.  What is interesting is how many entities still look at cloud storage as moving data to "the" cloud, as though it is a single repository.  "The" cloud is not an all-encompassing platform, it is an architecture.  "The" cloud isn't delivered with a single set of protocols or de facto management tools.  Heck, even within Amazon, there are different tiers of cloud storage options available.

What we will see in 2018 is an increasing want and need among IT organizations for something that moves beyond a single cloud provider to a multi-cloud experience that determines where data and workloads reside based on their unique needs and business value.  All data is not created equal, which means that not every cloud is a perfect fit for it.  With a multi-cloud approach, workloads can be moved to the most-appropriate cloud based on attributes, location and needs of the application. Like server virtualization just after the turn of the century, the promise of cost reduction and agility is driving cloud architectures. IT needs solutions controlled by policies that among other things can take advantage of the lowest-cost pricing of individual cloud providers by automatically storing data to the cloud with the best pricing.

Multi-Cloud Means Hybrid Cloud

While the cloud promises freedom to retain data anywhere, the reality is that an enterprise will still prefer to maintain a datacenter even while leveraging the benefits cloud storage has to offer. Cloud providers like Amazon and Google have far more resources than any IT security department does, but companies are going to keep truly business-sensitive data in-house maintained by internal IT departments for the foreseeable future.  So, while all of an organization's data could be kept in the cloud, it makes the most sense to leverage multiple cloud vendors for their benefits of analytics, collaboration and economics while keeping some amount of data on-premises. Hybrid cloud is the new definition of "datacenter".

How applications are served should be decided based on proprietary software-defined data storage. When architected properly, a single namespace serving cloud-native data provides accessibility, in-depth insights from analytics, and a practical means for companies to make the best decisions based on their data.

Conclusion

With consumers keeping photos and documents and songs in "the cloud," this approach to data storage has grown beyond consumer and can be available to IT organizations. Enterprises are looking to see how they can leverage the cloud, whether for its accessible-anywhere attributes or for the economic benefits of storing business data offsite without the requisite capital expenditure costs. 

While Bezos has about 90 billion reasons for you to believe that a single cloud is all you need, where the future of cloud storage now lies in utilizing multiple clouds to empower freedom to move workloads between clouds with universal access to data across on-premises and public infrastructure.

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About the Author

Mario Blandini 

Mario is Chief Evangelist at SwiftStack, Inc. Passionate about disruption, he has previously lead marketing teams for Storage technology companies including Brocade, Drobo, and HGST. Mario has also deployed infrastructure in technical roles at Rhapsody Networks (now Brocade), Sanrise (now EMC), Adaptec, and the United States Marine Corps. 

Published Friday, January 19, 2018 7:28 AM by David Marshall
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