What are the 3 most important trends in storage during the
last 7 years?
Network storage - which once used to be the
exclusive domain of large organizations or those involved in the print business
has come to every size of organization including the home. The technological
factor which democratized network storage was the market swing vote from
fibre-channel SAN to
IP SAN. As ethernets got
faster users found they could do a lot of useful storage networking with NAS
devices on networks they already had. More recently the increased
standardization of iSCSI
offers the promise of performance on these IP SANs equal to that of the harder
to manage proprietary SANs.
Backup media - we've started to see
a fundamental shift
away from tape backup
towards disk to disk backup.
Early software support for this process was crude. But newer products are taking
the best paradigms from both technologies and merging them. So tape will not
disappear from the storage lexicon - but it may live on in the form of virtual
Semiconductor storage - the
flash memory market,
which started out supplying the boot firmware chips embedded in products and
PC motherboards has come out of the closet and become a multi billion dollar
consumer industry. Appearing in dozens of form factors from keyrings and cards
to hard disk lookalikes - the flash market which has been growing at close to
100% per annum in recent years has outgrown its original home and has been
sighted on a worldwide tour of locations including cameras, portable music
players and mobile phones.
What are going to be the 3 most important trends in
storage during the next 7 years?
security - if
your organization operates by managing and interpreting data - then the
governement, legal authorities and your customers care about the security,
tracability and accuracy of that data. For legal reasons - to protect themselves
- data owners will eventually have to provide an audit trail from the moment of
capture or datum creation upto past the point where the data no longer has a day
to day commercial utility. (Maybe even retaining records years or decades after
the customer or data subject has died.) Today we're starting to see piece-meal
approaches to tackling this problem. Add to that - the cost implications and
technical considerations involved in retaining data through many lifetimes of
server and storage media hardware - something which most of us have never had to
do before. These problems can only be dealt with by virtualization products
which become industry standards. Is this a role for Microsoft a Unix company or
a new type of software company? In the past operating systems have not had to
include a 30 to 50 year backward and forward product compatibility in
Reliability - as
network storage domains get bigger - the probability of failure - unlike that of
winning the lottery - is going to become more frequent. Whether you count
failure as due to a media component failure, an unrecoverable
RAID system failure, a
virus or new software installation induced failure or
of the servers in a branch office - the old paradigm of manually detecting
faults and then reacting to them afterwards won't be good enough any more.
Users will have to assume that their storage is constantly breaking down -
sometimes in subtle quantum ways. Therefore software and other corrective
automatic systems will have to live in the storage network constantly testing,
healing and repairing. I've talked to many storage manufacturers about the
upcoming reliability problem - which could be more serious than the
Y2K bug threat - if not
dealt with in advance.
Solid state disks -
in recent years
solid state disks have
started to impact storage architectures at the lowest and the highest price
points. At the low end - replacing functions traditionally implemented by
hard disk drives, at
the high end replacing CPUs and servers by speeding up storage bound
applications. This is already a multi billion dollar market - but in the next 3
years it will grow by a factor of 5 of more.
At the low end - consumers
will soon be able to order notebook PCs which include
SSDs which replace or work
in tandem with hard disk drives. The result will be faster operation, lower
weight and longer battery operation.
At the high end as the SSD
industry manages its transition from being a technical sales force led
industrial / military market to a marketing led commercial market - it will
become easier for users to understand the cost benefits of making their next
server upgrade - a storage upgrade instead.
What's going to
happen in the meantime?
Which old technologies will be discarded
and which new ones will become the hot products of tomorrow? We have many
speculate on this - but the only sure way to find out is to keep visiting the
news pages of
STORAGEsearch.com to see how this exciting future unfolds. ...ACSL (publisher)
...Later:- the above article was published in 2005 to
celebrate the 7th anniversary of STORAGEsearch.com. The long term predictions
published then still represent our thinking a year later, in Sept 2006, as we
celebrate the 8th year of the mouse site.
Here are some other popular articles which you may be
interested in reading:-
STORAGEsearch.com is ?? Years Old
STORAGEsearch.com was first
published in September 1998. Here's the original press release which went out
at the time.
1998 - ACSL, publisher of the SPARC Product Directory, launched
STORAGEsearch.com, a new Web directory for locating computer storage products
for all major platforms.
"Our customers in the Sun market have
been asking us to produce a cross platform directory like STORAGEsearch.com for
many years," said Zsolt Kerekes, publisher of STORAGEsearch.com. "Using
the experience from our SPARC Web site,
we expect to achieve in six months something which took us six years to do in
the Sun market. In other words to become the Number One directory in this
...Later:- For a publisher which had been exclusively focused
on the Sun market
since 1991, this seemed like a step into the great unknown. But we had already
been covering storage products for many years, and our customers had been asking
us to do a separate storage publication since the mid 90s.
STORAGEsearch.com with just 4 main product categories:-
SCSI adapter cards and
hard drives. The plan
was to roll out new categories every month, but make sure that each category was
complete as it became visible. So, for example - the 1998 RAID page listed 51
manufacturers. I estimated in 1998 there were about 250 to 300 storage
In 1998 most people didn't think of the storage market
as a single market. But within a few years other
online storage publications
also started to appear as their publishers hoped to cash in on the dotcom
Today STORAGEsearch.com (with over 1 million annual
readers) tracks over 1,000 storage companies in a
market which was over
$150 billion in revenue in 2005.
Squeak! - Animal
Brands and Metaphors in the Storage Market
- Why are Most Analysts Wrong About Solid State Disks?|
analysts and editors of other computer publications don't really understand the
solid state disk market.
They show their ignorance and naivete by
prefacing every discussion of SSDs with a superficial analysis which compares
the cost per byte of storage between flash and hard disk drives. That's the
wrong answer to the wrong question. And it's far removed from why the SSD market
is racing to become a multi billion dollar market seemingly in blithe ignorance
of the cost per byte proposition.
This article tells you what's
important to users and the main applications in which SSDs are already being
used and new applications where they will be used in the next 3 years. ...read the
article, Solid State Disks