An uncertain global economic climate in 2012 has prompted companies to plan for 2013 with a greater than normal degree of caution. However, in certain areas of business, there are still some absolute certainties. One such area is that of data storage and storage infrastructure, for which demand will undoubtedly intensify in the year ahead, continuing the trend of exponential growth in recent years.
1) Big Data: The explosive growth of data will continue to be the biggest concern for the IT industry in the coming year as Big Data begins to take centre stage, creating challenges and opportunities for the industry. The explosion of unstructured data and mobile applications will generate a huge opportunity for the creation of business value, competitive advantage, and decision support if this data can be managed and accessed efficiently.
2) Consolidation to convergence: The cost of hardware (CAPEX) will continue to trend upwards, becoming a greater share of total cost of ownership (TCO). As a result of this, consolidation will give way to convergence. Over the past few years IT has focused on consolidation and much of the low-hanging fruit has now been consolidated. In order to gain further cost savings, the pace of convergence of server, storage, networks, and applications will likely intensify.
3) Software defined Data Centres: The technology industry is entering a phase of transformation as significant as the advent of the Internet itself: It is about software defining everything. The concept of a software-defined data centre would be based on abstracting the hardware itself from the delivery of services to the business.
4) Increased adoption of the solid state drive (SSD): Although the traditional hard disk drive (HDD) is far from extinct, there will likely be an increase in adoption of solid state drive (SSD) technology across different segments of the market. Storage for small mobile devices such as laptop PCs, smartphones and media tablets might be the route for this technology to gain the necessary traction and critical mass. With a decrease in NAND flash prices, the resulting cost reductions are expected to drive SSD adoption.
5) Storage efficiency and scaling: There will be a greater focus on storage efficiency technologies such as storage virtualisation and dynamic or thin provisioning. Also, server and desktop virtualisation will increase the need for enterprises to scale up storage systems, non-disruptively as physical server demands increase.