Top Storage Trends for 2013

Storage is still about finding the right balance of performance, capacity, and usage

By Rob Commins

IT organizations are implementing server virtualization, desktop virtualization, shared databases and file services -- all of which demand not just high-capacity storage but high-performance storage that can handle multiple concurrent applications. Advances in data reduction, protection, and efficiency in primary storage, such as compression and de-duplication, also demand better performance. As a result, IT administrators need to rebalance the key requirements -- capacity, performance, compatibility, usability (fit for purpose), reliability, data protection and value for money -- for storage in order to maintain an efficient IT infrastructure that supports critical business operations and applications.

2013 Trend # 1: Technology nirvana won't be a converged infrastructure -- yet

We all know that organizations and individuals today are creating data faster than at any time in human history and thus increasing the demand for storage. As we generate more data, we need to preserve and protect it with backup and replication, which drives the demand for storage media even higher. In 2013, that increasing demand will continue to be a significant challenge to IT departments -- especially because of the consolidation of cloud-based applications, virtualization, and file sharing.

Many large firms and small startups alike have been using the phrase converged infrastructure to explain the consolidation of pools of assets that can deliver storage, server and networking resources to applications. In 2013, the industry will continue to struggle to deliver on the promise of converged infrastructure because these converged virtualized environments do not give the customer the flexibility to easily scale for performance and capacity separate from each other. The overprovisioning of one asset to meet the needs of another with a fixed-node model does not make economic sense at scale. The "converged infrastructure" still has plenty of growing to do before the notion of the self-healing, self-scaling data center becomes a reality.

2013 Trend # 2: Practice your coping skills; the virtual infrastructure will still be complex to manage in 2013

Reporting, reporting, reporting is the mantra of the virtualized data center. There may be an instance when two data centers seem to be in balance, but another key component within a datacenter may be in a high-speed wobble. Getting at these issues quickly and concisely is going to be important. Monitoring and managing a multi-tenant environment is the marketing promise we're working toward and the idea of an automated data center is probably still on the horizon in 2013, so practice your coping skills and work with your provider to hone in on virtualization management in 2013.

2013 Trend #3: Hybrid storage architectures will be the stars of storage

You will see more new storage providers focusing on hybrid architectures and using SSDs for performance optimization and HDDs for capacity optimization. Hybrid storage arrays are significantly faster than all hard disk-based arrays and significantly less expensive than all solid state disk-based arrays, so you will see more competition in the hybrid space in 2013.

Final Thoughts

Today's IT managers will continue to need storage arrays that deliver faster performance, higher capacities, and robust data protection with near-instant recovery times. The need for these capabilities is likely to increase in 2013, as everyone creates and deals with more data and thus more storage. The good news is that in 2013, technologies such as in-line compression and deduplication will make storage more affordable and easier to use than ever.

Rob Commins is vice president of marketing, at Tegile Systems, where he is responsible for worldwide marketing. You can contact Rob at

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