ESG's Scott Sinclair provides his thoughts and predictions on Storage for 2018.
Read the related ESG Blog: The Need for Speed and Automation: Enterprise Storage in 2018 (Video)
Scott: As we enter 2018, digital information has never been more valuable. The digital economy is thriving. Innovators are transforming industries and reaping the rewards. One might assume that, with all this new data growth, the traditional enterprise storage industry would be booming. While there's some truth to that, a more accurate statement would be that, this massive increase in demand for data is driving a fundamental transformation to the storage industry, and to IT as well. New infrastructure options, such as converged, hyperconverged, and cloud, both public and private, are taking off, and if you step back and look at these technologies, they all have one thing in common. They alleviate the responsibility and complexity of infrastructure management. The bottom line is that data is growing so fast and becoming so valuable, businesses can't keep managing it the same way they always have. Something has to give.
This brings us back to the coming year, to 2018. What will 2018 mean for enterprise storage? We will continue to see flash storage grow. Organizations will start to prepare for NVMe technology, to better harness the power of flash storage. In addition to the technology transformation, however, organizations will also be forced to transform how they interact with their storage infrastructure. There's so much data, and so much storage to manage, "easy to use" is no longer good enough. Or, said another way, IT storage infrastructure must become automatic.
In the digital economy, data is incredibly valuable, but that value diminishes over time. In order to maximize the value of your data, you have to be able to harness its power quickly, in order to adjust to shifting market conditions, evolving customer preferences, or to the emergence of new competitors. Speed matters, and the slowest thing in your data center is people. Automation is a must. Every minute a highly trained IT expert spends on a manual, predictable, or routine task, is not only a minute that could have been optimized with automation, but it is a minute of expert time that could have been reallocated to a more valuable and potentially revenue-driving task. Advanced IT organizations have been leveraging automation and orchestration layers for years, to automate activities and to develop self-service portals. This year, I expect we'll see a dramatic rise in the number of organizations that leverage APIs, as well as orchestration frameworks, such as Kubernetes, Puppet, or Chef. And the storage solutions that best enable these environments will gain an advantage. In 2018, "easy to use" becomes too slow, too difficult, and too costly. In 2018, IT infrastructure, storage infrastructure, must become automatic.