I recently joined the Forrester Infrastructure and Operations team, and I'm excited to be working the team to further explore the changing world of storage. I know… many said "Storage? How boring." But in fact, there have been some very exciting changes in storage that have emerged as the result of many other transformations happening in the IT environment, that directly or indirectly impact storage. Some of the larger changes include:
Converged infrastructure: Emerging solutions that tie networking, storage and compute together have impacted the way storage further interacts and integrates with the other components of this stack. As Andre Kindness (@andrekindness) addresses in his doc here, the convergence occurring in the network are impacting the way storage considerations must be made and deployed going forward.
Cloud: Although much hyped, cloud computing is real and happening. There's no need to delve deeper for now, my colleague James Staten (@staten7) covers this topic extensively and can find his blog here. Many components of this model have evolved, yet cloud storage in its infancy. Use cases are still limited, as Andrew Reichman (@reichmanIT) points out in his August doc. However, I do see the market evolving quickly, as enterprises begin to get more comfortable and realistic about their expectations.
Big data: Already a cliché term, the fact is that large amounts of data are being stored every day and continues to grow exponentially. However, enterprises may be sitting on a wealth of valuable information in this stored data, but without the right analytics tool in place, it becomes so much more difficult to extract this information. How do converged infrastructures or private cloud environments enable enterprises to mine their data? The need for a flexible and comprehensive storage strategy is one that is difficult to establish, but much needed.
Organizational changes: Because of the above changes, the IT organization in general, is facing change. The emergence of new roles, coupled with changing role specifications of network and server professionals, ultimately impacts the way storage professionals do or will do their jobs. My colleague James Staten's doc Are Converged Infrastructure Good For IT? touches upon this issue, and fellow Forrester analyst Rachel Dines (@racheldines) explores the overall I/O organizational changes further here. As we move forward and continue to see the evolution of I/O, I'll delve further into how the role of storage professional changes specifically.
All of the above are trends impacting the way storage environments are designed and managed going forward. There has been much change in the networking space, and are seeing the interdependency between networking, server and storage. The silos are breaking down, not only from a technological perspective, but from an organizational one as well. It's necessary for storage professionals to work closely together with other groups to understand how their decisions impact their own. It's also important that I/O professionals understand the overall ecosystem changes occurring in the industry today and going forward.
Boring? I think not. While these changes will take some time, go through much iteration and may cause disruption, they will happen. I’m looking forward to helping our clients navigate these changes and creating the right storage environment for them.