5 Key Data Storage Trends for 2019

Software-defined storage (SDS) has been adopted into the infrastructure of today's data centers because it delivers fast, flexible storage while reducing costs. To do so, SDS leverages out-of-the-box hardware and provides optimized storage management.

According to International Data Corporation, the SDS market will grow at a compound rate of 13.5 percent annually through 2021. It's a boon to companies stuck with increasingly complex data storage and management needs, especially with expanding regulatory compliance expected to continue in the coming year.

Enterprise Storage Forum released the results of a survey of IT and business leaders regarding their data storage plans. Here are five key trends in data storage management you need to know about:

1. Performance and cost drivers now equal.

Balancing performance and cost has always been a challenge. However, the new extreme storage performance now available with flash technologies is a game changer. These systems are expensive, costing more than either hybrid or lower end AFAs. So, IT teams are under increased pressure to provide detailed, accurate cost analyses of high-performance storage upgrades or implementations.

2. Flat IT headcount a challenge for fast-growing data.

Survey takers said they were most likely to neither increase or decrease IT headcount. Flat headcount is better news than staff reductions, but failing to bring in new talent during fast-growing data and security trends becomes a challenge in the face of monitoring unauthorized solutions implemented by other departments, also known as Shadow IT, which can dramatically impact performance. Automation helps to alleviate some of the stress by simplifying upgrades, introducing dynamic scalability automating monitoring as well as policy-driven storage solutions.

3. Hyperconvergence is limited.

Hyperconvergence delivers performance and scalability at a reasonable cost. However, one type of infrastructure can't handle every need, so companies have to make smart decisions on where to put their data center dollars.

4. Flash adoption is steady but HDD holdouts loom large.

Hard Disk Drive’s massive installed base works with everything but the fastest high-performance apps. No one wants to rip out disk-based or hybrid systems without a compelling reason to do so. Flash/SSD is still the choice for transactional systems but not business applications.

5. Cloud storage is eating up IT budgets, but IT is purchasing it anyway.

Cloud storage allows companies to manage data offsite and save on CAPEX and OPEX costs associated with maintaining or expanding physical data centers. There are additional costs involved in monitoring the cloud storage solution and analyzing bills to make sure no unexpected monthly charges appear as your storage needs grow.

New Regulations

New regulations are prompting organizations to pay more attention than ever to the way data is stored. For example, the U.S. has NIST SP 800-171, which impacts non-classified data held by U.S. defense contractors, and the E.U. introduced privacy regulations with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

These rules force companies to implement controls so that they always know precisely where regulated data is stored and who's looking at it.

Data owners have to become good stewards of their data to ensure the appropriate protection and reporting on data

Data Storage Challenges

Survey respondents cited aging equipment and inadequate storage capacity as their major concerns, as both heavily impact business application performance.

Respondents reported several leading challenges for managing and optimizing their storage environment. At the top was aging gear at 18% followed closely by lack of storage capacity at 17%, and high costs of operation and security/compliance issues at 13%.

Regular technology refreshes upgrade ageing storage hardware and software but are often are complex and costly. Hidden (dark) data is also at risk in storage moves. Best practices include investing in policy-driven software to locate and move or delete data before retiring old technology for new storage systems.

Despite temporary pain from refreshes, smart investing in new storage technologies and management automation overcomes obsolete storage infrastructure, insufficient capacity, high OPEX, and data security issues.

About the Author: Jeff Poirior

Jeff brings 25 years of telecommunications and information technology management experience in voice and data networking, server support, and telephony and security; with a significant emphasis on customer service. Prior to joining Valicom, he was chief of the infrastructure support section for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Jeff was the vice president of operations for CC&N, overseeing telecommunications, help desk, data and desk side support services. Prior to that, he served as the associate director of technical resources for Covance, responsible for managing systems and network operations supporting 1700 users in Wisconsin and Virginia. He has also led data center operations at Magnetek Electric, supporting mainframe systems, client/server applications, telephony systems, and computer-aided design. Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University and a master’s degree in business administration from University of Phoenix. In addition, Jeff is a past board member of the Wisconsin Telecommunication Association.