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The Exciting Yet Terrifying Rollercoaster That Was (And Will Continue To Be) The Storage Landscape

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The Exciting Yet Terrifying Rollercoaster That Was (And Will Continue To Be) The Storage Landscape

By James Honey, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, SolarWinds

I'm not a fan of rollercoasters. Oh, I'll ride them and enjoy them for sure, but before, during and even after the ride, I always have a giant knot in my stomach. So, to me, rollercoasters are the quintessence of something that is both exciting yet terrifying all at the same time. And right about now, the storage landscape gives me a very similar feeling. The 2015 storage market was such where almost every day there was something new to learn, understand and give one pause for both storage vendors and end users alike.

The Storage Market

The storage market itself continued to transform with traditional storage vendors losing market share and newer storage players taking more of that share with increased growth. For traditional storage vendors this had to be a bit terrifying because they see overall growth in their core business decline, even while they are making the move toward newer storage technologies.

For up and coming storage players in the market, this was exciting because they started seeing their revenue and market share increase with more and more customers understanding and using their solutions.

For end-users, this was also exciting because we had a chance to finally breakout from the normal storage cycle and try new things and new solutions. However, we also experienced our own fears, centered on concerns that these new solutions may not be an improvement over what we already understand well and have trusted for so long.

Storage Technology

Storage technology changes in 2015 lead to their own set of complicated feelings for both storage vendors and end users. For example, not too many years ago, flash was a technology many companies felt was out of reach and did not provide a good enough return on investment. Over the last couple of years, though, flash has become the norm in storage solutions as the cost hurdle has quickly moved lower. Vendors were excited to offer flash as a better performance option and we end users grew excited to take advantage of the better price and performance improvements. Software defined storage (SDS) and hyperconverged technologies also provided a new level of excitement because they deliver a different way of looking at storage in a virtualized environment. For years, there was a determined set of ways we had to set up storage for virtualized solutions, now we have more options to find the right fit for our needs.

Of course, for storage vendors this had to all be a bit terrifying because it's a huge change from their core businesses built around storage arrays, and it requires either a research and development investment, acquisition, partnership or a combination of all of these to meet the needs of customers.  For end users, this was all terrifying because it requires taking a risk on something new and different, and will require learning a new set of skills to take full advantage of.


Yes, 2015 was an exciting and terrifying year in storage for all parties involved. With predictions ranging from more growth and newer technologies around flash storage, SDS and hyperconvergence continuing to grow and evolve, containers starting to take root in more organizations and more talk around hybrid IT and ways we can take advantage of it, 2016 is looking like it will feature more of the same.

I guess this knot in my stomach isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.


About the Author

James Honey is a sr. product marketing manager for hybrid IT performance management software provider SolarWinds. He has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry focused specifically on storage technologies and virtualization solutions for SMBs to enterprise environments. His current role includes responsibility for all storage monitoring and management-related product marketing initiatives, including SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor. 

Published Thursday, January 21, 2016 6:33 AM by David Marshall
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