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NexGen Storage 2016 Predictions: Unleashing the Full Performance of Flash

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Chris McCall, Senior Vice President of Marketing for NexGen Storage

Unleashing the Full Performance of Flash

Did 2015 pass you by in a flash? There were many significant data storage innovations and developments that accelerated the adoption of flash storage this past year and we'll continue to see more of this in 2016. New storage solutions will continue to emerge to capture the full potential of flash technology as it becomes the de-facto standard for primary data storage. Here's a look at what we expect to see from the storage market in 2016:

Fragmentation Drives More Choices

The storage market will become even more fragmented due to three factors: 1) the increase in storage companies that will be bringing new products to market; 2) the fallout from recent mergers (i.e., Dell-EMC); and 3) analyst firms like Gartner encouraging customers to look for solutions from new, innovation-leading companies rather than from the more traditional ones. All of this will give customers more choice and drive down costs.

QoS a "Must-Have" All-Flash Array Feature

In 2016, we'll see the emergence of second-generation solutions focused on managing flash technology more efficiently. New Quality of Service (QoS) algorithms will continue to be refined and implemented to allow customers to maximize their flash investments by ensuring mission-critical applications avoid the latency spikes associated with all-flash arrays. QoS is required to align IT resources to end user priorities.  Flash only makes this need more apparent and QoS will continue to become a must have feature with new all-flash arrays.

Flash Technologies Continue to Evolve

The proliferation of different types of flash will continue with no uber flash emerging that delivers the best performance, endurance, cost, and capacity. Systems that can support multi-tiers of flash will have an advantage since they can deliver the customer the best combination of economics, performance, and endurance.

Hardware Is the New Software

Software-defined storage makes a lot of sense assuming all hardware is created equal and offers the same cost and performance characteristics. 2016 is the year that we'll come full circle where, for a moment in time, hardware architecture matters more than software.  If vendors don't get the hardware right for flash, they're going to be yesterday's disk array. New hardware standards like NVMe free workloads from the bottlenecks and constraints of legacy interconnects like SAS/SATA and will unleash the full performance of flash.  By leveraging the PCIe interface that's available on every server and storage system today, NVMe has the potential to converge data storage and application processing resources onto the same compute bus with new levels of efficiency.

The Emergence of Scale-In Hardware Architectures

New "scale-In" system architectures will emerge with tremendous compute horsepower and capacity, which have only been achievable with massive scale-out solutions in the past, and the new systems will be deployed in a tiny footprint comparatively. Hadoop, Cassandra, etc., deployment will all undergo a massive rethink.  Note, this is NOT what the hyper-converged solutions do today as the converged systems still need an external network to move and access data from different nodes - this approach injects latency into every single I/O and severely limits the performance potential of flash.

Integration of Management Solutions

IT infrastructure continues to grow but the number of jobs does not.  That means all IT pros are managing more and the gradual extinction of the IT specialist. Everyone becomes generalists.  This creates a need to provide a single pane of glass, end-to-end IT infrastructure management.  Bouncing between vendor UIs isn't tenable in a world where you manage twice as many VMs and 4x as much storage capacity as you did last year. Solutions will become more integrated from a management perspective.

The Truth about Hyper-convergence

The rapid growth of the hyper-converged segment will continue. However, as hyper-converged deployments grow, so do their inefficiencies, which creates the need for best-of-breed solutions that eliminate the inefficiencies of scaling but still provide the same level of converged management. 2016 will see these best-of-breed solutions do deeper integration to achieve the same level of management convergence that hyper-converged solutions provide.  

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About the Author

CHRIS MCCALL, SVP Marketing

Chris leads the marketing organization for NexGen. He has over 15 years of data management marketing experience ranging from product management to demand generation and communication; prior to NexGen, Chris held positions at Hewlett-Packard, LeftHand Networks, Fusion-io, and SanDisk. Chris has a BS in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University and an MBA from Seattle University. 

Published Thursday, December 10, 2015 7:58 AM by David Marshall
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