With 2016 behind us, I recently had some time to sit down and record my thoughts on the storage industry for 2017. While I do not wish to spoil the predictions in the video too much, there are a few key points that I would like to make to set the stage.
- Public cloud services are fundamentally transforming the storage industry, to a point where the industry could look very different in five years.
- In response, on-premises storage solutions have seen insane levels of innovation over the past couple of years, in technologies such as all-flash, hyperconverged infrastructure, and software-defined storage.
- However, the multi-billion dollar question is, “Is it enough?”
Businesses are finding out that the public cloud isn’t ideal for everything. Some workloads are ideally suited for the cloud, while others are best suited to remain on site, suggesting that the majority of businesses will end up with a hybrid approach to IT. And now with these recent innovations in on-premises storage technology, the economics suggest that the balance may start to shift back to on-premises, just as public cloud services are starting to take off.
The cloud decision, however, is not simply a cost equation. Offloading the infrastructure management, and the headaches, to someone else simply provides benefits that are difficult to replicate for on-premises storage providers. For the storage industry, this coming year will be about finding a balance with public cloud services. Businesses will continue to go hybrid, but it will be the position of the equilibrium point between on- and off-premises that could very well define the industry for years to come.