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Top 10 virtualisation and storage stories of 2016

Flash storage has held onto the headlines in 2016, but hyper-converged infrastructure, containerisation, software-defined storage and VMware’s plans for the hybrid cloud are rising themes

While the rise of flash storage in the datacentre was prominent in 2016, its trend line was perhaps less steep than that of hyper-converged infrastructure.

Hyper-converged marries storage and server capacity in scale-out hardware, usually with a virtualisation hypervisor. It has seen a huge increase in prominence in 2016, and here we present stories from Computer Weekly that demonstrate the appeal of hyper-converged infrastructure, the threat it poses to small and mid-range SAN systems and real-world examples of its deployment.

But there have been other ongoing trends in storage, and these are also largely centred on forms of virtualisation.

We have the continuing progress of server virtualisation, which is not necessarily a storage topic in itself but always one with huge impacts for storage, and, in the case of VMware’s VSAN, one that directly impinges on traditional ways of holding data.

The use of software-defined storage has also continued apace, and another form of virtualisation – containers – has continued to increase the space it carves out for itself in the datacentre.

1. Virtualisation rolls on, but still less than 50% of workloads are virtualised

A survey by backup software maker Veeam found server virtualisation is the most popular way to upgrade datacentres, but still less than 50% of workloads are virtualised.

2. VMware’s Cross Cloud moves aim to replicate datacentre dominance in the cloud

VMware provided the clearest message we’ve heard yet from the company at VMworld 2016.

That’s because, in its explanation of its Cross Cloud strategy and announcement of a product set – Cross Cloud Services – lie its intentions to virtualise the hybrid cloud.

3. Coop Denmark replaces NetApp with VMware software-defined VSAN

Scandinavian retailer Coop simplified virtual server storage with VMware Virtual SAN software-defined storage and sidestepped bandwidth bottlenecks on NetApp Metro Cluster replication.

4. VMworld 2016 vox pop: VMware users cool about VSAN

As VMware announced upgrades to its VSAN hypervisor-based storage software, VMworld 2016 attendees seemed to think it is a costly product and possibly unsuited to high-end use cases.

5. Hyper-converged infrastructure product survey: The challengers

In the first of a two-part survey (here’s the other), we looked at the hyper-converged infrastructure market and the startups providing VM-native servers and storage, and datacentre-in-a-box products.

6. Hyper-converged vs shared storage for SMEs

The rise of hyper-converged infrastructure – with compute, storage and networks in one box – seems ideal for SMEs, but is it always a better idea than traditional IT architecture?

7. Stockport council ditches HDS SAN for Nutanix hyper-converged 

Stockport council shifts to hyper-converged server storage boxes from Nutanix, with its previous SAN reaching end of life and experiencing operational issues and scalability problems.

8. More want containers but storage is not up to the job

Containers offer a rapid and flexible way to deploy apps, but many are put off by lack of storage management support and scalability in SAN and NAS systems, said a Portworx survey.

9. Containers and storage: The challenge of persistent storage

Containers have been rising in prominence over the past year or so, but the second half of this year saw a flurry of products and features aimed at changing the way they relate to storage.

10. Software-defined storage: The pros and cons, and what is available

Software-defined storage is a rapidly rising trend in the datacentre, but what are the pros and cons of building your own storage, and is it suitable for all organisations?

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