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Western Digital 2020 Predictions: The Next Stage in the Evolution of the Data Center

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Phil Bullinger, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Western Digital's Data Center Business Unit

The Next Stage in the Evolution of the Data Center

Data growth is at an all-time high. By 2023, ¹IDC expects 103 zettabytes to be created per year and 12 zettabytes stored, with approximately 60 percent of stored data at core and edge data centers. With this unprecedented data growth, data centers must evolve to support an ever-increasing span of workloads, applications and datasets. As part of this evolution, new approaches and developments are well underway for early adopters looking to capitalize on future-ready data infrastructures. Building on its 50 years of innovation and leadership in data storage technologies, Western Digital is at the forefront of helping organizations architect more efficient, cost-effective and scalable data centers to thrive in the Zettabyte Age. Read on to hear what Western Executive leaders see on the horizon for 2020. 

In 2020, new data center architectures will emerge to manage the growing volume and variety of data.

In the Zettabyte Age, data infrastructure needs to be re-architected to address the staggering scale and increasing complexity of mission-critical workloads, applications and AI/IoT datasets. These constructs will involve multiple tiers of workload-optimized storage as well as new approaches to system software. Zoned Storage, an open-source initiative, will enable customers to take advantage of zone block management across both shingled-magnetic recording (SMR) HDDs and zoned namespaces (ZNS) SSDs for sequentially-written, read-centric workloads. In 2020, we'll see a substantial amount of application and storage software investment in Zoned Storage to help drive more efficient storage tiers as data centers are redefined in the Zettabyte Age.

In 2020, tiering of data - leveraging device, media and fabric innovation - will expand, not contract.

There will continue to be strong exabyte growth in read-centric applications in the data center, from artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics to a variety of business intelligence and accessible archive workloads.  These at-scale use cases are driving a diverse set of performance, capacity and cost-efficiency demands on storage tiers, as enterprises deliver increasingly differentiated services on their data infrastructure.   To meet these demands, data center architecture will continue advancing toward a model where data storage solutions will be consistently provisioned and accessed over fabrics, with the underlying storage platforms and devices delivering to a variety of service level agreements, aligned with specific application needs. And while we certainly expect to expand the deployment of TLC and QLC Flash in these at-scale, high-growth workloads for higher performance use cases, the relentless demand for exabytes of cost-effective, scalable storage will continue to drive strong growth in capacity enterprise HDD.  

In 2020, fabrics and composable infrastructures will form a symbiotic relationship.

Ethernet fabrics are becoming the "Universal Backplane" of the data center, unifying how storage is shared, composed and managed at scale to meet the demands of increasingly varied applications and workloads. In 2020, we'll see increasing adoption of composable, disaggregated storage solutions that efficiently scale over Ethernet fabrics and deliver the full performance potential of NVMeTM devices to diverse data center applications.  Composable storage will significantly increase the agility and flexibility in how enterprises provision and optimize their data infrastructure to meet dynamic application requirements.


[1] IDC Worldwide Global DataSphere Forecast, 2019-2023: Consumer Dependence on the Enterprise Widening, January 2019, DOC #US44615319

Forward-Looking Statements:

This blog may contain forward-looking statements, including statements relating to expectations for Western Digital's products, the market for these products, capabilities and applications of its products for data strategies. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, including development challenges or delays, supply chain and logistics issues, changes in markets, demand, global economic conditions and other risks and uncertainties listed in Western Digital Corporation's most recent quarterly and annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which your attention is directed. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

About the Author

Phil Bullinger 

Phil Bullinger is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Business Unit for Western Digital where he focuses on accelerating the growth and performance of the company's broad portfolio of data center disk and flash products.

Published Thursday, January 16, 2020 7:20 AM by David Marshall
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