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Excelero 2018 Predictions: NVMe Brings Change and Opportunity

VMblog Predictions 2018

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

Contributed by Tom Leyden, VP of corporate marketing, Excelero

NVMe Brings Change and Opportunity

2017 brought the enterprise IT industry chip innovations, commodity hardware deployments, the rise of Server SAN and new open consortia like Open 19. Hold on to your hats in 2018, though. Old, tired architectures will fade away even if incumbents struggle to keep them relevant. NVMe Flash and software-defined data centers will expand, and while deployments hit a few speed bumps along the way, the IT buyer clearly will benefit. Here's what our crystal ball shows for the New Year.

1) The storage and network guys will be friends, as IT teams will benefit from the switchover to NVMe storage devices and 25/50/100Gb and RDMA networking. Let's face it: storage and network guys are like fighting siblings. They need each other, but each casts blame on the other guy for their problems. For decades, storage architectures have been designed according to the limitations of either storage or networking. Either one was the bottleneck: we switched from HDD to SSD to get better performance, but that would saturate the network, faster networks (Ethernet - Fibre Channel - Infiniband) would then require faster SSD's, using new protocols. But we've come to a point where this will no longer be the case, because the network will BE the storage. New generation SSDs already have evolved rapidly and provide unseen performance, and new generation networking (25/50/100G & RDMA) has enabled new distributed storage architectures. As protocols like NVMe over fabrics debut, new high speed storage devices can essentially sit anywhere on the network and be pooled as one large pool of high performance storage without bottlenecks.

2) NVME SSDs will completely dominate the storage landscape in few years, given the many benefits of NVMe vs. traditional flash. Because the NVMe protocol integrates extremely well into the modern world of remote memory and networking access, vendors can provide much wider range of value-adds compared to traditional SSDs - from quality of service to persistent memory on drive combining drive and NVDIMM functionality. Expect the NVMe landscape to be differentiated by these features in a couple of years when the current obvious race to highest performance/largest drives reaches a plateau. Expect even further advantages as future memory fabric interconnect model like Gen-Z or OpenCAPI debut.

3) Traditional hybrid storage architectures combining tiers of different media won't be able to continue, as almost 30-year old approaches in the new world ruled by NVMe devices. They withstood the initial flash tsunami by incorporating SSDs into a much larger cache layer than it was possible using RAM. But IT leaders should expect to see significant architecture changes completing the flash revolution sweeping the datacenters, as the move to software-defined infrastructure continues.

4) Server SAN will achieve its breakout year. SDS became popular initially for object storage but object storage is struggling to break through. Server SAN offers the functionality of a traditional SAN but uses standard servers: scalability, performance and efficiency are driven by market standard flash storage and high-end bandwidth IP based networking. It also offers all the benefits of legacy Fibre Channel storage over IP with unlimited performance.

Enterprises are switching from enterprise OEM storage arrays to agile, software-defined architectures such as Server SAN, which offer much more operational flexibility at a fraction of the cost. These offer the agility to meet requirements of legacy and new applications; uniformly scalable architectures are easier to manage; the use of standard components offers a much high ROI.


About the Author

Tom Leyden 

Tom Leyden is vice president of corporate marketing at Excelero, a disruptor in software-defined block storage inspired by the tech giants' shared-nothing architectures for web-scale applications. He has over 20 years of expertise in developing and marketing next-generation enterprise storage technologies.

Published Thursday, December 28, 2017 8:02 AM by David Marshall
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