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Primary Data 2014 Predictions: Forget about hardware, it's the data that matters

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by David Flynn, co-founder and CEO, Primary Data

Primary Data 2014 Predictions: Forget about hardware, it’s the data that matters

 

Now that the hype surrounding cloud and BYOD is starting to slow down, these two mutually reinforcing trends will become the norm and drive actual change in 2014. Spurred by ease of cloud access and employees carrying their own powerful compute devices, enterprises will reach a tipping point where the hardware on the back-end and front-end becomes less important. Let's take a look at what I believe are the top three predictions we'll see as a result of this change in enterprise priorities.

Software development accelerates

Companies will not make substantial investments in new hardware and devices this year. Instead, enterprises will turn their attention and budgets to custom software that will enable employees to access the network and services they require and have already implemented in traditional work environments.

However, as companies write files on mobile, cloud, servers and other custom applications, it will all come to be seen as one big storage repository, which will need to integrate with software to see and share information. The data is at the center of this shift to software development. In fact, it's all about the data - how to access it, how it can be used and how it can be protected.

The Internet of Things changes how we use data

The Internet of Things will continue to revolutionize our interaction with machines around us - from cars and medical equipment with embedded sensors and actuators to smart wearables such as watches and running shoes. It will also generate a flood of data. This type of data is different than that of past compute systems, which have been systems of record where the data is normalized and you cared about what is now and what was then.

With the Internet of Things, we now have systems of engagement where the data is unstructured and always on. If you were to normalize this data, you'd lose the richness of it. The value of these pools of data is the ability to go back and post-analyze, which means you can't throw any of that data away and you can't take it offline. Now, the goal is to leave this data unstructured and accessible, and then deal with it effectively at a later point in time.

Storage goes through a transformation because of cloud

All of this feeds back to the need to house data for volume, velocity and variety of access. But we can't do the same things and expect different outcomes.

The fact of the matter is that block storage is broken. You can't use blocks if you need something more contextual. Block storage makes it difficult to capture and manage data in the distributed systems that cloud and mobility have generated.

File-based and object based storage (FOBS), which is the unification of big scale out NAS and cloud object-based storage, will play a significant role in the burgeoning storage transformation. FOBS provides a way to store data that can grow without bound, rather than fixed block sizes used in traditional SAN arrays. FOBS is better suited for handling unstructured data and data in the cloud. These architectures will overtake monolithic storage systems and leave them looking more like mainframes.

The future of storage is software-based. But, what we need to understand from these three predictions is that data should be the focal point, not the storage that holds it. We need to manage data, not storage systems, and in 2014 we'll begin to see the industry evolve in this direction.

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About the Author

David Flynn is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Primary Data, a stealth-mode enterprise software company leading the next evolution in software-defined data center technologies. David is a recognized leader in storage innovation. As co-founder of Fusion-io, Inc., he pioneered the use of Flash in the enterprise data center, dramatically boosting speed. He served as Fusion-io's president and CEO until May 2013 and board member until July 2013.
Published Wednesday, November 13, 2013 6:30 AM by David Marshall
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