In this ESG Video Blog, ESG's Scott Sinclair talks about his expectations for the Storage industry in 2017.
Announcer: The following is an ESG Video Blog.
Scott: For the storage industry, 2016 was the year defined by massive upheaval, facing disruption across multiple fronts from public cloud services to hyperconvergent structure. Storage industry players responded with some major moves, the most notable of which was a merger, or acquisition, of Dell and EMC, but that's only one example. 2016 saw multiple shake-ups, blitz, and a few firms leaving the industry.
Looking forward, however, data capacities will continue to grow, so technology providers will continue to innovate. 2017 will be the year we start to see the fruit of those 2016 labors as the industry attempts to get back to business as usual. Along these lines, there are a few predictions I'd like to make for 2017.
2017 will be the year the all-flash data center becomes a truly viable option, and not simply a marketing tagline. In 2016, we saw a wealth of announcements of highly dense, massive capacity, all-flash arrays, designed for unstructured workloads, with a cost per capacity rivaling that of disk. While some workloads will shift to the cloud, others will find these new all-flash systems are a powerful option, delivering benefits to density, power, cooling and resiliency, in addition to those of performance.
I expect that we'll start to see some pockets of cloud push-back. On-premises solutions have seen some impressive innovations recently, such as those massively-dense, all-flash arrays. In addition, hyperconvergent structure and software-defined storage solutions have seen some dramatic improvements, offering businesses more choice and greater efficiency than ever before. Obviously, interest in public cloud services will continue to grow, but the math that made the cloud a no-brainer, just a few years ago, doesn't hold up anymore. For example, when you combine these latest innovations in hyperconvergent structure and these dense, all-flash systems, you can deploy a multi-petabyte infrastructure in just half a rack. The cloud will continue to be a viable option, but on-premises technology has made a serious comeback.
My final prediction is that, as on-premises storage providers compete with the public cloud, we will see greater flexibility in storage pricing and consumption models. IT organizations need capacity, and they need it immediately. They don't want to pay for capacity that's just sitting around doing nothing. On-premises infrastructure has the technology to compete, but needs to offer more flexible consumption models to complete the solution. My expectation is that storage providers will either choose to offer more cloud-competitive consumption options, or they'll be forced to.
There is an old curse that says, "May you live in interesting times." 2016 was certainly interesting for the storage industry. In 2017, many storage providers will probably wish to go back to business as usual, but those days may be gone. The shifts in 2016 were meant to enable storage firms to be better equipped to compete with the cloud. In 2017, we'll see if they can capitalize.