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Formation Data Systems 2017 Predictions: Software-Defined Storage Crosses the Chasm

VMblog Predictions 2017

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017.  Read them in this 9th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Mark Lewis, CEO, Formation Data Systems

Software-Defined Storage Crosses the Chasm

In September, Dell finalized its acquisition of EMC, the global market leader in the infrastructure category that has dominated the enterprise data storage market for decades - storage arrays. Of course, both Dell and EMC are positioning this acquisition as a way to create "synergies" that result in storage arrays finally addressing enterprises' long-standing need to take the cost and complexity from their data storage infrastructure.

Yet anyone with any historical knowledge of the IT industry knows that thriving, growing markets, don't see consolidation and mergers like this. Rather, this acquisition of the storage array market leader signals the beginning of the end of the storage array era.

Now that there is now a viable alternative to storage arrays - software defined storage (SDS), 2017 will continue to see enterprise and service providers deploy SDS at scale.  SDS technology is gaining traction because it directly addresses the cost, scale and complexity issues that most customers experience with hardware-based storage.  These are the same issues that have driven many workloads away from storage arrays and towards cloud storage solutions such as Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service (AWS S3).  Cloud providers like AWS cracked the code many years ago and innovated a completely different model for delivering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS); Utilize commodity hardware with custom-built software.  Enterprises now understand that in order to remain competitive and achieve these same outcomes for private cloud, they must deploy software-defined infrastructure.

In 2017, data growth will continue to explode, expect that capacity growth will accelerate and this growth will continue to stress traditional storage arrays beyond their design limits. This growth, combined with the fact that most IT budgets are under incredible pressure, forces IT architects to investigate alternatives to deliver more capacity from less budget.   As SDS technologies continue to mature, 2017 will see an acceleration in technology trials transitioning into production as more legacy workloads are migrated off of proprietary hardware, and as more modern applications are brought into production.

In the coming 12 months, expect that a growing number of industries will be disrupted which will place immense competitive pressure on incumbent companies to accelerate the development and launch of new digital services.  These services will increase focus on business agility, accelerating the pace of their development teams, which drives the need for elastic infrastructure. This next wave of innovation will be the basis for transformation initiatives requiring streamlined processes and lean methodologies that will move everything from technology purchasing decisions to resource provisioning to a self service model, moving away from traditional IT processes. These factors will drive organizations to migrate non-critical workloads to utilize cloud services, but expect continued resistance to moving critical applications to public cloud due to concerns about security, control and performance.  For these reasons, SDS private cloud deployments based on solutions like FormationOne and Formation SafeGuard will accelerate and deliver seamless cloud connectivity to make hybrid cloud solutions a reality in 2017.

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About the Author

Mark Lewis is Chairman and CEO of Formation Data Systems. Formation is a venture-backed software company developing a revolutionary hyper-scale enterprise storage solution. From 2002 to 2012, Mark was an Executive Vice President for EMC corporation reporting directly to the Chairman and CEO.

From 2010-2012 he was Chief Strategy Officer as well as Founder/Managing Director of EMC Ventures. From 2007 to 2010, Mark was President of EMC Documentum. During that time, Mark took the organization from unprofitability to record profit and cash flow. Prior to this, Mark held key roles at EMC including Chief Technology Officer, President of the EMC Software Group and Chief Development Officer. He led and drove over 31 acquisitions for EMC including VMware, Documentum, Legato, and RSA. Mark was instrumental in moving EMC from being a single-product hardware company to a mainstream IT player.

Mark joined EMC in July 2002 from Hewlett-Packard/Compaq/Digital, where he was Vice President and General Manager of Compaq's $2.5B Enterprise Storage Group, which at the time was the largest storage organization in the world. Mark was the youngest person to achieve the GM role in the history of the company. From 1998 to 1999, he led Compaq's Storage Software Business, which he grew from zero to over $250M in revenue in just two years.

Mark Lewis 

Published Friday, December 09, 2016 8:06 AM by David Marshall
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