The IT industry is on the brink of some major changes. System assemblies, components, and hardware configurations are affected by innovative software and storage concepts like white box and Solid State Drives (SSDs). Lightning-fast networks and increased SSD/flash storage are the primary influences behind industry-wide improved system performance. Just as predicted by Moore’s Law, technological advances will double system performance every two years.
The pressure is mounting in 2015 for enhanced storage performance in virtual systems, which is impacted by the trend toward containerization. Alternatively, storage can be distributed in a Virtual SAN (VSAN), where the server engines and drives share co-residency. As long as data is carefully distributed, speed can rapidly increase. However, if data distribution becomes too problematic, VSANs may fail as viable storage solutions.
The Changing Storage Marketplace
The SSD performance marketplace offers a variety of options in Non-Volatile Memory Express drives (NVMe) of a million random IOPS or more corresponding to in-memory databases. Many industry leaders predict that the future interface options will favor SATA Express. Along with bigger and speedier SSDs, the drive classifications are expanding, focusing on write-protected SSDs with archiving capabilities and increased capacities from 3D TLC structures. By the end of 2016, flash devices will be equipped with 5-10TB storage capacity.
“Naked drives” are also emerging with Ethernet-only interfaces in some storage companies. These companies managed to meld popular software storage stacks with software-storing platforms, like Ceph. The flexibility of Ceph allows for traditional and open-source storage. Its universally supported storage can be run with structured elements on specific appliances as well as virtual instances.
Conventionally designed systems are challenged by in-memory databases. Some systems offer up to 6TB of DRAM, but many prefer 1U and 2U servers with 1TB. Increased Dual In-line Memory Module (DIMM) flash capacity and instant-on capabilities utilizing 3D stacked cell components will be seen more and more in 2015.
Other Transitions on the Horizon in 2015
The acquisition of Inktank, the parent company of Ceph, by Red Hat will result in a cheaper storage appliance market. It’s likely to be dominated by original designs marketed by the Chinese for high-volume companies. White-box storage will begin to bleed market shares from old school vendors scrambling to reinvent themselves as providers of services and software.
More subtle evolutions will emerge in storage packaging, with an uptick in trends of pre-assembled clusters at the container or rack level. This will allow for various storage types and could offer additional benefits. Some original design manufacturers (ODMs) will also offer bundles of integrated services along with all vital components.
This is an exciting time for the IT industry, with new developments in storage outpacing yesterday’s news at a rapid rate. Businesses will remain competitive by staying abreast of all trends and incorporating enhanced storage options as they become available.