By Shaun Mahoney, Director of Strategy and Technology
Consumer Electronics Show 2013 (CES) just happened in Las Vegas, demonstrating the latest tech gadgets, so I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the technology trends that will be impacting our business this year. As a Business Solutions Architect at NetApp, these are the topics that my colleagues and I are talking about with customers in all of the various organizations we work with.
The Cloud -- 'Everything' as a Service will continue to dominate discussions and expectations around deploying technology and introducing agility to the equation to drive better leverage of technology investment as time continues to become the most recognized operational cost. Management tools will continue to become the competitive edge for ease of use and management at scale. Service providers will continue to be one of the fastest growing verticals forcing a focus on selling with rather than against companies in this space.
Flash is continuing to grow but the hype has subsided. The realities are staring us in the face and customers are still challenged in how to leverage flash in an economical way. NetApp will soon have seven different ways to leverage Flash in our solutions! Startups will continue to proliferate though the news outlets shifting focus toward software defined data center solution announcements. There will continue to be new startups and a few acquisitions will take place but most are going to struggle to get outside their initial niche plays and developing a Gen 2 capability in an ever more competitive market. Customers are already past the initial "cool" factor and are looking for more enterprise capabilities from a market that needs to mature quickly. Enterprise Flash (eMLC for example) will become the new buzzword for Flash solutions as firmware and systems continue to get better focus as this market matures.
Software Defined Networks or Data Centers will overtake Cloud as the latest concept in the data center. The tech sites are already focusing on startups in the space and the analysts are creating focused positions watching this space. Still too much hype for something that is still a commoditization play, but something we need to develop and maintain our understanding of this year.
Object Based Storage is going to be talked about a lot this year. CDMI is becoming a reality as well as wider support for the Amazon S3 protocol. Ceph is being talked about as the next Hadoop in this space.
Speaking of Hadoop, analytical packages and the companies that make them will be in the news quite a bit this year as the ability to leverage Big Data Analytics will focus more on the analysis aspect and less on the data warehouse as the hype starts to wear off and actual general use cases become more the focus. Enterprise solution support and integration will be highlighted more and more as companies start to use these technologies in revenue driving projects.
Non-Disruptive or Continuous Operations will be a driving expectation in the enterprise and will be common topic in IT conversations.
Storage Efficiency will always be a major factor, but now more of a discussion starting point than buzzword as everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.
pNFS is still a bit of a dark horse this year, but increasing awareness will open up conversation and application/OS support roadmaps will drive customer adoption.
Spinning Disk won't be going away anytime soon, but there are a number of notable trends on the horizon. Drive density is increasing and shingled drives will start to appear. Even with hybrid drives using flash or additional caching these drives will be getting slower and less reliable as bit level errors increase faster than improvements to how many bits can be stored per square inch. The increased use of storage efficiencies will likely compound these issues as solution resiliency becomes a key focus. Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording will also be a topic of conversation. We are already having more discussion about systems that will be in a constant state of rebuild.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the new year! Tons to talk about as technology continues to develop and our business continues to grow. Feel free to leave any comments! And reach out to me on Twitter at @shaunm70 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.