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Lightbits Labs 2023 Predictions: 4 Top Reasons Cloud Storage Will Proliferate in 2023


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

4 Top Reasons Cloud Storage Will Proliferate in 2023

By Eran Kirzner, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lightbits Labs

Cloud data is growing at a faster rate than on-premises data. Already, the amount of data stored in the cloud has surpassed that stored in private infrastructure. With the global cloud computing market expected to reach an estimated $495 billion by the end of this year, organizations will continue to look at ways to benefit from this technology. But the convergence of four trends will provide an impetus for data stored in the cloud to grow even more next year.

1. Hardware supply chain challenges persist during unprecedented data growth.

Expanding on-premises environments require enterprises to make significant upfront investments in physical hardware. However, the difficulties in getting this hardware have made the cloud the go-to option for dynamically adding IT infrastructure. Even before the pandemic, it often took more than 16 weeks to receive, configure, test, and deploy equipment. This has only been exacerbated by the pressures on global hardware supply chains over the past few years. Since 2020, shipments have slowed significantly, often accumulating up to nine-month delivery windows.

This disruption, combined with the ease of use of the cloud, has seen many organizations embrace the cloud. They can now access the necessary IT resources on demand and at the scale needed. The result is getting the ability to not only keep operations running but also being able to accelerate new deployments.

Once the low-hanging fruit of cost efficiencies, business agility, and scalability have been achieved, enterprises will turn to the cloud as a dynamic business continuity safeguard against unpredictable supply chain delays. Nearly all IT decision-makers surveyed last year (91%) - said IT supply chain issues were impacting them. Additionally, 44% said they planned to shift processing to the cloud to reduce disruption.

At the same time, the world's data is experiencing an estimated 23% annual growth rate. IT teams know they must be ready to address the associated storage requirements regardless of whether the hardware is available. The cloud offers a dynamic alternative to keep pace with these storage demands while having organizations avoid upfront CapEx outlays.

2. Data-driven analytics initiatives will shift to the cloud.

Meaningful analytics that improves the decision-making process and automates tasks lie at the heart of most digital transformation initiatives. But building compute, and storage infrastructure for these analytics workloads is cost-prohibitive for many organizations, particularly those starting from scratch with proof-of-concept applications.

Driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms, analytics generally requires analyzing terabytes to petabytes of accurate, aggregated data at high velocities. Considering how ML gets smarter as it's fed more data, it needs even more storage. This storage must perform faster as graphics processing units (GPUs) are added to the compute infrastructure to accelerate CPU tasks. These capabilities require costly upfront and ongoing investments in IT equipment. Adding even more complexity to this is the scarcity of talent and getting budgetary approval to acquire the necessary tools. With this in mind, the cloud becomes the most attractive (and cost-effective) option.

Capitalizing on readily available cloud infrastructure allows businesses to experiment with AI-driven analytics technology and operationalize it faster with lower complexity. Cloud providers offer massive AI/ML infrastructure that they manage, allowing organizations to efficiently process and store large volumes of data without bottlenecks or acquiring expensive, specialized expertise. They also offer services that consolidate multiple data types and structures from many sources into a single source of truth. Providers can provide general-purpose AI services, such as those that perform high-volume image processing, recognition, and classification, for a variety of applications.

3. High-performance databases find their way to the cloud and the edge

Many organizations have gotten their feet wet with the cloud for data backup and archiving. Extending their on-premises infrastructure to the cloud for storing data that is not used every day-for ‘cool' and ‘cold' storage-allowed them to gain cloud experience with minimal risk to their primary data. In 2023, more primary tier 1 applications' critical workloads will start to shift to ‘hot' block storage in the cloud and edge.

This is made possible thanks to the deployment of Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) storage technology in public cloud data centers. NVMe technology improves access performance with increased IOPS and lower latency. NVMe links storage with compute resources at speeds on par with flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs), direct-attached storage (DAS), and most recently, Ethernet networks. NVMe can operate multiple streams between the CPU and flash SSD in parallel.

These advances allow primary workloads to move to cloud storage with the performance they need to support highly distributed, geo-diverse applications. Among these, for example, are fraud detection in financial institutions and universal customer-facing web applications built on back-end block-storage databases.

4. Improved migration tools will accelerate multi-cloud adoption.

The final trend is the pervasiveness of multi-cloud adoption. Some reports estimate that 89% of enterprises have embarked on a multi-cloud strategy as they try to match their many applications and workloads to the IT infrastructure that optimizes performance, cost, security, and other factors for each. Containerizing applications with all their dependencies using tools such as Kubernetes simplifies the movement of workloads back and forth between public and private cloud environments as business goals, cloud prices, compliance regulations, and other factors change. As such, these tools remove integration and compatibility barriers to moving workloads and associated data to cloud infrastructure.

The challenge comes in with how organizations are approaching the multi-cloud. Typically, many enterprises are simply using different clouds for different applications. One of the reasons for this is that IT teams are under pressure to split their budgets and resources. It's easier to tell management they're multi-cloud-enabled than to explain the difference. Instead of an app-driven multi-cloud approach, the focus must return to how an enterprise can best leverage the combination of clouds that perform different functions.

Gartner identified the top five challenges when it comes to implementing a true multi-cloud strategy - from increased security risks and the associated complexity of administering multiple technologies and bills to the cost impact and finding the right cloud services providers that meet the requirements of the enterprise. This makes multi-cloud a challenging undertaking when not approached correctly.

One of the ways I expect the barriers to multi-cloud adoption will be cut is through access to uniform interfaces and a fully portable storage solution. This will make it easier for enterprises to ‘lift and shift' across clouds. It also gives them a much-needed edge to negotiate features, pricing, and availability with the cloud services provider.

Not if, but when

The recurring theme across these four predictions is the cloud. It's no longer a question of whether organizations will move their applications to the cloud but rather when this will happen on a large scale. As enterprise multi-cloud initiatives gather steam and data migration tools mature to enable application mobility, businesses will increasingly focus on the cloud for quick access to highly scalable IT resources.

The global cloud storage market alone is expected to grow 24% annually through 2029. In times of economic uncertainty, the cloud provides a reliable alternative platform for quickly deploying new technologies, maintaining operations, and storing the massive data volumes required to fuel modern-day AI/ML analytics and back-end database applications.



Eran Kirzner 

Eran Kirzner is the founder and CEO of Lightbits Labs. Lightbits has raised more than $55 million from marquee strategic investors including DellEMC, Cisco, Micron and with investments from Chairman and Founder Avigdor Willenz. Prior to Lightbits, Eran worked for PMC-Sierra, Wintegra and Freescale in various storage, compute  and data communications roles. He holds patents in communication, QOS, processors architecture, flash, media-management and storage systems. He holds  bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer and electrical engineering from the Universitat Ben Gurion Ba-Negev and Tel Aviv University, respectively.

Published Friday, December 09, 2022 7:38 AM by David Marshall
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