There was a dodgy* old joke about a glass of beer that re-filled itself when you had drunk it. The unwritten premise was that that’s what everyone (well, men in the 1970s, I presume) would want if they could get it.
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But, what would storage managers wish for if they could get it? Something similar, one would think, given the ever-present headache of data growth. IE, storage capacity that is easily scalable, usually upwards, but downwards too when you need it. IE, cloud storage.
Well, Zadara Storage – which makes software-defined storage that can be used in the cloud – asked 400 people who manage storage in the UK, US, and Germany what their #1 wish in 2017 would be.
The largest chunk (33.25%) answered “cloud storage that scales up or down according to my organisation’s needs”, with no appreciable difference in results between the three countries.
That wish was expressed by about three times more people than opted for “new storage hardware to hold my organisation’s data”, although there was a significant difference between the two sides of the Atlantic here, with 10% of UK and Germany respondents desirous of more in-house capacity while 16% of those in the US wanted more hardware.
The main takeaway, I think, is that easily scalable storage is the key thing storage managers want.
Perhaps more profound is the assumption that that can only be found in the cloud.
This looks like a harbinger of things to come and that the rise of the cloud is inevitable.
Currently, a lack of guarantees over latency and availability (no-one can guarantee against a cable getting dug up, for example) mean the cloud is becoming more popular but is not trusted for the most performance-hungry storage operations.
Despite that, the survey tells us customers want storage that can scale easily and that the cloud is where it will likely come from.
In the long term this will bring major changes in data storage, with cloud providers profiting from economies of scale in terms of buying storage hardware, and with capacity delivered via the cloud for all but perhaps the most sensitive workloads.
* The joke, as I remember it, told in Britain in the 1970s, took a poke at the Irish. In it, an Irishman was offered three wishes. He asked for a glass of beer that re-filled itself. For his second wish, he asked for another.
Given the issues around data portability between cloud providers the joke could be successfully adapted to one about a storage manager offered cloud storage capacity that scaled itself. IE, you’d be crazy to want another one.