Next-generation Storage Architectures: How Real and How Desired?

next-generationIncluded with this post is the first in a series of seven videos that succinctly encapsulate some of the key findings from our recently published research report, Next-generation Storage Architectures. I share the duties on these blogs and videos with my colleagues Terri McClure and Scott Sinclair; all three of us collaborated on the actual research.

The research covers 5 topics: software-defined storage, cloud storage, integrated compute platforms (i.e., [hyper-]convergence), object storage, and solid-state storage. While some of these (flash for sure) are a little further along than others, we view them as some of the key things that are shaping storage over the next few years. We did not want to look at "out there" science projects, but nonetheless these more tangible "architectures" still have a lot of mystique, marketing obfuscation, and plain misunderstanding surrounding them...and that, in a nutshell, is why we chose to go down a qualitative, interview-based research path rather than a more standard quantitative online method.

Our chosen approach was time-consuming but rewarding. It avoided guesses (and the "courtesy" answers that can happen when using online research about unclear topics and the interviewee doesn't really know her answer. The problem there is that people want to be helpful and answer in any case!). It encouraged discussion and understanding, which means that the insights are a real window into what senior IT personnel think of the storage landscape and opportunities for the next few years.

Please watch for the full series of blogs/videos over the coming weeks; each issue will delve into one topic in more detail.         

Video Transcript:

Woman: The following is an ESG video blog.

Mark Peters: Vendors and commentators are always talking about the next big things, but sometimes the actual users don't get asked. While it's hard to analyze attitudes to things that may not yet be well understood or even productized, nonetheless, that's crucial insight. And that's why ESG recently conducted qualitative research into these five key next-generation storage architectures.

Other videos in this series will provide extended summaries for each area, and the full research report is available on our website. But here's a few comments about the research and our headline findings.

The organizational demographics of those interviewed were broad, with a median of 15,000 employees and 1.15 petabytes of storage. But there was also considerable consensus. Traditional storage challenges of scalability and data growth remained paramount. Although more contemporary issues, such as security and data governance, were also mentioned.

We categorized just over half the respondent organizations as fast followers, while the balance was weighted over four-to-one in favor of being holdouts over trailblazers. And the one-line takeaways? Storage professionals today view integrated computing platforms with some apprehension and often as a tactical solution.

Solid-state storage has taken and will continue to take IT by storm. The only factor holding it back is price. Software-defined storage is still poorly understood, but interest in it is extreme. Public cloud storage generated strong opinions on both sides with little middle ground. And despite limited understanding, momentum towards object storage looks to be growing.

The buying process has generally moved from intra-organization turf wars to far more collaboration. And most organizations still preferred to deal with large brand name vendors.

Please see the other video summaries of our research. And remember, the full report is available on ESG's website.

ESG coverage of converged and hyperconverged technologies