Top 10 storage stories of 2014

While users upgraded storage and backup for virtualisation, hyperscale, software-defined, OpenStack and object storage gained traction

While flash storage grabs the headlines, most IT departments are busy improving the infrastructure around virtual server and desktop environments.

For most, that means implementing disaster recovery and virtual machine backup provision around storage arrays (storage area network and network-attached storage) that are essentially little-changed in a couple of decades.

But in the background, new technologies encroach on the old. Public cloud storage, after initial hype, appears to be settling down to a hybrid modus operandi alongside in-house storage.

Meanwhile, new architectures and technologies are emerging, including hyperscale and software-defined, open-source storage, private cloud and object storage.

1. Disaster recovery and virtual server backup top 2014 storage projects

Top of the list is what was top of the to-do list in storage and backup for our readers. And that – according to the Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities Survey – was disaster recovery and virtual server backup. Those two were followed by plans for cloud storage.

2. Big storage hybrid cloud moves show limits of cloud storage

Late in the year storage giants EMC and NetApp announced moves to incorporate their on-premise hardware with off-premise cloud storage. It’s a move that recognises the limits of the cloud at present, but also its opportunities. 

3. Peterborough council to ditch SAN in move to Box cloud storage

In a move that can’t have gone unnoticed by the big array makers, one UK local authority ran trials in which user data was moved to a third-party provider, with the stated aim of eventually doing away with in-house storage hardware.

4. As VSAN 2.0 goes beta VMware aims at hyper-converged x86 storage

In a move that combined much-hyped software-defined storage with hyperscale compute and compute architectures, VMware announced it will aim virtual storage area network (VSAN) at commodity x86-based storage for virtualisation. 

5. Arrays cost councils four times more than software-defined storage

Software-defined storage supplier Nexenta asked councils what they paid for storage hardware and found it came out four-times more costly than open-source or storage software.

6. OpenStack storage: Cinder and Swift explained

OpenStack has emerged as the leading open-source private cloud infrastructure. We explained its block (Cinder) and object storage (Swift) modules.

7. UCL expands DDN WOS object storage capacity to 3PB

University College London (UCL) installed around 3PB of DataDirect Networks (DDN) object storage as part of a project to provide storage and archive services for academic researchers at the institution.

8. BYOD backup: A looming Bring-Your-Own-Disaster?

Employee use of personal devices for business – or bring your own device (BYOD) – has been a rising trend in recent years. Here we looked at the potential for a data protection nightmare due to a lack of backup for employee BYOD hardware.

9. Ideas EMC probably hates #96 – Seagate Kinetic drives

Seagate Kinetic disk drives (pictured) with controller software built in that can be configured to provide grid-like arrays for object storage was one of the most interesting ideas in storage this year.

10. Cold Storage, Helium and HAMR. Can they save the spinning disk HDD? 

In an era when flash storage is grabbing all the headlines due to its extremely low latency, disk makers are coming up with technologies to boost the capacities of spinning disk drives in ways that will see the hard-disk drive (HDD) remain in use for some time yet.

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