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VMblog Expert Interview: Gerardo Dada of DataCore Reveals Findings from its Eighth Consecutive Survey

DataCore Interview Gerardo Dada 

DataCore Software recently announced findings from its eighth consecutive survey, "Storage Diversity Seen as Imperative to IT Modernization Efforts," which explores the data storage industry's needs and thoughts regarding technology maturity, 2020 budget planning, current and future deployment plans and more.  To find out more, VMblog reached out to Gerardo Dada, the Chief Marketing Officer of DataCore.

VMblog:  DataCore recently conducted an independent study.  What does the study cover and why was this data important to discover?

Gerardo Dada:  DataCore's 8th consecutive market survey explored the impact of software-defined storage (SDS) on organizations across the globe. As IT leaders and business units call for more alignment and modernization initiatives, an industry-wide shift towards software-defined is being not only realized but actualized as more and more organizations recognized the power of SDS to break silos and hardware dependencies. SDS is also coming into its own as proven solution that makes storage smarter, more effective and easier to manage, which also translates into business outcomes. The findings in the report show a change in how the storage industry is being perceived - that data and data services matter more than the actual storage system - the software that controls where data is placed is where the value lies, not in the type of hardware or media. At the same time, many companies are seeing the power of consolidating storage under a single, unified, software-defined platform to simplify and optimize primary, secondary, and archive storage tiers, managed by modern technologies such as predictive analytics/artificial intelligence. 

VMblog:  How many people did the study survey and what were their demographics?

Dada:  The 550 respondents came from a diverse set of organizations, both in size and industry, providing statistically significant insights into a range of IT environments. A range of vertical market segments was represented, including financial services, healthcare, government, manufacturing, education, IT services and other related industries. Respondents were from a mix of organizations, including those with revenues ranging from less than $10 million to more than $1 billion in revenue. Participants were primarily located in North America, with additional respondents located in Europe and South America, and a small amount from the regions of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

VMblog:  What interested you the most about the findings and why?

Dada:  It's interesting that despite all the innovation and new technologies, we have not solved many of the problems in storage.

Storage is hard. As an example, 49% of respondents are not satisfied with the high availability capabilities in their storage. From a technology perspective, we have solved this years ago. Some of our customers have had 10 years of continuous uptime, yet many still struggle with it. It's just an example.  A big part of the problem is the hardware-centric mindset that is still prevalent in the industry.

The industry loves the idea that the best way to solve a problem is to replace your storage infrastructure with the latest model, and ideally you keep doing this every three years. This is not only a bad financial decision, it ignores the effort required in replacing hardware and migrating storage, but also is not practical given how much things change.

VMblog:  This year's survey was conducted at the same time as a worldwide pandemic.  Does COVID-19 and the vast shift to remote work materially change any of the findings?  If so, how?

Dada:  It doesn't materially change the findings, but magnifies their importance. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing hardware shortages and reduced budgets putting certain IT projects on hold, companies have no choice but to find ways to get more out of their existing storage resources. As a result, IT managers are calling for the modernization of IT infrastructure-fueling an industry-wide shift toward software-defined infrastructure to help break silos and hardware dependencies, enabling storage to be smarter, more effective, and easier to manage.

VMblog:  What were the most important findings from the study?


  • The top three capabilities that respondents want from their storage infrastructure-but feel that are not currently receiving-are high availability, business continuity/disaster recovery, and capacity expansion without disruption.
  • Limited flexibility is the top reported technology disappointment or false start that respondents have encountered in their storage infrastructures.
  • 73% of respondents have more than one data center and 81% have more than one storage vendor. This heterogeneous storage infrastructure is a fact of life in most IT departments-and the problems that come with this type of diversity are numerous.
  • Approximately half of the market is looking to software-defined storage (SDS) or hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to satisfy their primary and secondary storage requirements for the future.
  • 64% of respondents fell within the range of "strongly considering" SDS to "standardizing on it." The top business drivers for implementing SDS are to future-proof infrastructure, to simplify management of different types of storage and to extend the life of existing storage assets.
  • For those who are deploying containers, the top surprises reported include lack of sufficient storage tools or data management services. • 86% of respondents agreed that predictive analytics is important in simplifying and automating storage management. 

VMblog:  What are some of the biggest revelations that were uncovered by this?

Dada:  Surely a big revelation is the pace of adoption of SDS. It's the number one answer for primary storage technology for the future at 35%. It shows us we have clearly passed the early adopter stage, we no longer see SDS as a crazy new technology but as something real that has proven results. There is also a bit of disillusionment with HCI as It realizes it is not a panacea, there are use cases where it can be very valuable, and that the magic is in the way HCI does storage.

VMblog:  What stuck out the most in this year's survey?  Were there unexpected results that surprised your team?

Dada:  The results are consistent with last year, we did not see a major shift in most responses. However, two things stood out to me: first, 42% of IT departments are deploying containers in one way or another - whether as an experiment or as production deployment. It's not entirely surprising, the technology is maturing, hence our joint venture with MayaData to support OpenEBS and the availability of CSI plugins for most storage platforms. It will be interesting to see how much traditional IT embraces containers in production at scale.

The second thing I found interesting is that only 40% of IT organizations plan to invest in NVMe. We know the technology is fast, but it is also expensive, and like we talked about before, migrating storage from one system to another is a very painful process - unless you have an SDS layer that can move things around automatically for you. We are very excited about the performance improvements we see when our customers add NVMe storage to a pool with dynamic auto-tiering, and how simple it is - so we expected a larger group of customers doing that. It shows you how new technologies compete with other projects, in term of time and budget. As an industry we should be aware of the gap between the latest technology (like NVMe) and the reality of most IT departments which is a mixed bag of old and new across technologies and vendors.

VMblog:  After everything you've learned from this survey, what's next for DataCore?  How do you respond to the challenges found within the survey?

Dada:  For DataCore, the survey gives us validation on our strategy. It's good to hear IT is trying to solve problems for which we have proven, practical solutions. It gives us more visibility about where the industry is and what role we can play in educating the market about the value of Software-Defined storage. The survey also helps us hone our messages around the problems that are more prevalent in the industry, and informs our investment in new technologies.

VMblog:  Finally, where can readers go to learn more about the survey results?

Dada:  Go to to download the full report. 
Published Thursday, May 28, 2020 7:45 AM by David Marshall
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