Flash Storage Arrays and Decreased Cost To Grow Global Datacenter Market

The growing adoption of all-flash storage arrays, a decline in infrastructure prices, and the increasing adoption of unified storage architectures will help the overall datacenter market to grow over the next four years, a new report argues.

The prediction was offered by the market watchers at Technavio in a newly published report, "Data Center IT Infrastructure Market: Top Trends and Forecasts."

"The market for IT infrastructure is highly dependent on the growth of datacenters across the globe," said Rohan Joy Thomas, Technavio's lead datacenter analyst, in a statement. "This increased investment in datacenters is, in turn, driven by the adoption of cloud-based services, big data analytics, and IoT by organizations to serve end-users, including businesses and consumers."

The UK-based firm, founded in 2003, defines an emerging trend as "a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline."

The growing adoption of all-flash storage arrays certainly fits this definition. Over the past two years, the all-flash storage market has experienced significant growth, and Technavio expects that market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 20 percent between now and 2021. Also, this trend has "heavily contributed" to an increase in hyper-scale datacenter facilities, the researchers determined, because of an ever-increasing demand for better storage performance for applications in the enterprise.

Flash-based storage arrays offer 40 times better input/output (I/O) than hard drives, and about a 50 percent reduction in power consumption, the researchers observed. The growth of the flash-based arrays market itself will be driven primarily by the increased use of the cloud-based application, big data analytics, and IoT requiring higher performance, Technavio said.

Another top trend, the declining cost of IT infrastructure, is stimulating the rapid growth of datacenter spaces, which, not surprisingly, leading to increased procurement of IT infrastructure. The decline in infrastructure pricing also has a major impact on the cloud pricing model, the report found. One example: Amazon Web Services (AWS) has decreased its cloud-based service pricing by more than 40 percent, compared to its pricing in 2010.

"The emergence of systems that include converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions has led to the decline in the price of traditional IT infrastructure solutions," Rohan said. "In addition, the growing adoption of flash arrays will lead to a continuous decline in the ASP of SSD solutions. In terms of networking, the cost of physical hardware will drop with the increasing adoption of virtual networking solutions."

The report's authors also point to the growing adoption among datacenters of unified storage architecture, which consolidates block and file services to open system clients and physical and virtual servers. This trend will also lead to growth in support for object storage, they predicted.

At the heart of this trend is the ability of unified storage systems to reduce the number of systems that need to be managed in a datacenter. It's also more flexible and scalable and potentially less expensive,

These unified systems are also available in flash and hybrid array combinations, the researchers observed. "The number of virtual machines deployed in datacenters is growing significantly," they wrote, "and the use of unified storage will be a huge advantage while allocating both file and block access to each virtual machine without compromising the performance of the storage array."

About the Author

John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends (www.ADTMag.com) and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.