IBM Sees Flash, Hyper-convergence Among Top 2016 Storage Trends

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IBM Sees Flash, Hyper-convergence Among Top 2016 Storage Trends

As fast access to massive amounts of data becomes increasingly more critical, expect to see these advances in storage in 2016.

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Flash-Based Data Storage Takes Off

In 2016, watch the move of external disk storage to flash accelerate for all active, Tier 1 storage needs. By 2019, flash will dominate disk storage. Customers are adopting flash because of it is inherently fast and easy to manage. Flash storage allows for the compression and deduplication of data more efficiently. It is also cheaper to manage and replace; plus, it takes up less space in data centers, and requires less electricity and cooling. Today, it is already cheaper to deliver a certain input/output operations per second (IOP) load on flash than disk.

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Stacking Technology Is Entering a Third Dimension

The flash memory inside our phones, tablets and solid-state drives (SSDs) is getting faster, cheaper and more capable every year, but there is a limit to how much data we can pack inside a given area of silicon—and current technology is already pushing that limit. So vendors will need to move two-dimensional memory cells in storage technology into the third dimension, which is called 3D stacking.

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Cold Storage Will Become a Hot Technology in 2016

Storage vendors will step up efforts in alternative technologies for cold data storage and how to make storage technology faster, cheaper and denser. High capacity, low cost and durability are important goals for cold storage. Presently, data retrieval and response time can be significantly slower for a cold storage system than for devices or systems designed for active data. Media choices for cold storage include tape or low-cost commodity hard disk drives. Object storage—provided by entities such as IBM's Cleversafe—is one of the most common disk-based storage system types for cold data.

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Hyper-convergence Is Moving From Hype to the Real Thing

IBM is working on Spectrum Scale hyper-convergence software to manage both servers and storage in the same box for some of its customers. Hyper-convergence is a type of infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture that tightly integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources and other technologies from scratch in a hardware box supported by a single vendor, such as IBM.

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Software-Defined Storage Will Spiral Upward

While smaller businesses are increasingly moving to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and cloud-based storage in pursuit of lower costs and greater agility, most enterprises need to pursue a hybrid strategy, retaining a significant amount of storage capacity on-premises for reasons of performance, security, regulatory compliance, cost and the avoidance of cloud service lock-in. Typically, an enterprise will keep mission-critical data in-house, using the cloud for lower-priority data and for coping with episodic capacity requirements that fall outside the normal run of business. In 2016, we'll see more solutions based on software-defined scale-out storage to provide enterprises with more flexible management capabilities.

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More Companies Will Look to the Cloud for Storage Needs

The storage of data online in the cloud, where a company's data is stored and accessible from multiple distributed and connected resources, will become huge in 2016. Enterprises and midmarket firms will be looking for more solutions like IBM SoftLayer to manage all of their storage needs. Storage will become an enabler to high-performance cloud computing. Storage is a major component to the cloud and will continue to be a fundamental driver of performance.

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What the End of Mailbox, Carousel Means for Dropbox's Storage Business

Dropbox, the online storage company that's contending with strong competition from an array of major IT companies in the cloud computing section,  including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, along with direct cloud storage market competition from Box and smaller firms, has decided to realign its service offerings. The company will drop two of its niche offerings—its Mailbox email service and the Carousel photo storage service. It's also working hard to prove to potential enterprise customers that it is a desirable alternative to any cloud rival. But it's hard to make that case against such strong and richly financed competition. In recent weeks and months, it's made several moves to streamline its business and focus on the cloud services that are most important to enterprise users. This slide show covers Dropbox's recent decisions, including shuttering Carousel and Mailbox, and how it...