2012 previewed: More flash with auto tiering, FCoE and archiving

We look back over key storage trends in 2011 -- which include primary dedupe, auto-tiering and the cloud -- and ahead to the biggest storage developments to expect in 2012.

The big three developments in storage in 2011 were data deduplication for primary storage, auto-tiering and the increasing acceptance of the cloud. That’s according to Steve Pinder, storage practice lead with GlassHouse Technologies (UK), who speaks in this podcast to SearchStorage.co.UK Bureau Chief Antony Adshead about the past year in storage and what we can look forward to in 2012, including greater use of flash with auto-tiering, Fibre Channel over Ethernet and an increased demand for archiving.

Read the transcript or listen to the podcast on trends previewed in 2012, including more flash with auto tiering.

Play now:
Download for later:

2012 preview: More flash with auto tiering a key trend

  • Internet Explorer: Right Click > Save Target As
  • Firefox: Right Click > Save Link As

SearchStorage.co.UK: What were the key developments in data storage in 2011?

Pinder: During 2011 we saw three main developments in the storage field.

The first one is data deduplication devices being prevalent on primary storage. What that means is that for the last few years we’ve seen data deduplication appliances and software being used quite a lot in the backup arena, but more recently we’ve seen it being used for primary storage.

Before, people would say, “I’m happy for backup data to be deduplicated but I don’t trust the technology for primary data.” That has become much more of a standard over 2011.

The second thing is the almost de facto standard of auto tiering and thin provisioning on block-level storage arrays. As we know, file-level appliances have had things like thin provisioning for a number of years, but it’s been conspicuous by its absence on block-level arrays. Now almost every vendor that has a storage appliance has auto-tiering and thin provisioning in there as standard.

The third area where I’ve seen a lot of development is in cloud-based technologies. They are still in their infancy as an accepted standard. We’ve seen over the year that there’s been a couple of major outages at cloud-based providers, but [we have also seen] a lot more providers with offerings on the market. So far, [cloud] has been more prevalent in the home user market rather than corporate, but this is an area I think we’ll see developments in the next year.

SearchStorage.co.UK: What do you expect to happen in data storage in 2012?

Pinder: During 2011 and 2010, it’s clear that economic conditions [have still been] pretty harsh, and I expect that to continue during 2012 so there’ll be an even great focus on conserving storage and doing more with less.

One area where I can see there being a lot of focus is, again, auto tiering within arrays. I think this will be taken a step further in the usage of flash memory arrays for very high-performance data sets and the increase in use of lower-cost storage technologies for mainstream data.

The second area where I see developments becoming more of a standard situation and more accepted is Fibre Channel over Ethernet. We’ve seen recent technologies such as iSCSI try and challenge Fibre Channel’s crown as the de facto storage standard, but I really see FCoE taking away a reasonable amount of market share. That’s due to the increasing prevalence of 10 Gigabit Ethernet [and] the ease of use and low cost of providing Ethernet networks over providing Fibre Channel.

The next area where I think we’ll see a big increase in demand is for archiving technologies. This is obviously all still aligned to the increased utilisation of assets and doing more with less. If we can use an archiving appliance to take away 10% [to] 30% of our data that’s inactive, we can reduce that from the primary storage array, we can reduce it from the backup cycle, we can reduce it from our [disaster recovery replication cycle], and it reduces the amount of work needed to be done to administer a typical IT infrastructure.

The last area where I see a big trend in 2012 is in the convergence of practice areas such as storage, virtualisation and backup. What we see from providers is isolated solutions -- one solution for storage, one solution for virtualisation and another one for backup -- but what customers actually need is a converged offering because, as you know, when we architect a virtual infrastructure, there are different demands on the storage layer than there are from a standard non-virtual infrastructure, and it also has a different impact on the backup needs of virtual machines in that infrastructure.

So, they’re the main areas I see for trends during 2012 with the obvious need to still conserve cash, cut down costs and administration overheads.

Read more on Storage management and strategy