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5 years in storage: Flash mutants, big data and (WTF is) the cloud

So many changes ...to StorageBod's *vocabulary*, at least

Cirrus clouds

Over the last five years, there have certainly been a few structural changes: the wannabes and the could've-beens have mostly disappeared through acquisition or general collapse. But the big players are still the big players: EMC, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp still pretty much dominate the industry.

And the big firms core products are pretty much the same at present; there has been little revolution and a bit of evolution but the array in the data-centre today doesn’t yet feel much different from the array from five years ago.

Five years ago I was banging on about my issues with ECC and how poor storage management tools were in general. At the time, the most used storage management tool was Excel. That was five years ago and as it was then, so it is today. No one has yet produced a great storage management tool to become the de facto choice for looking after our ever-growing storage estates.

Yet, there has been a massive improvement in the storage administration tools; anyone with a modicum of storage knowledge should be able to configure almost any array these days. Yes, you will be working at the GUI but I can now take an IBM storage admin and point them at an EMC array, and they will certainly be able to carve it up and present storage.

Utilisation figures for storage still tend to be challenging; there is a great deal of wastage, as I have blogged about recently. Some of this is down to poor user behaviour while some can be attributed to poor marketing behaviour in that there is no way way to use what has been sold effectively.

So pretty much nothing has changed then?

Well...

  • Apart from the impact of solid state disk and flash on the market, an awe-inspiring number of startups are now focusing on this sector.
  • And scale-out: scale-out is the new scale-up ... Go Wide or Go Home.
  • Oh...then there’s virtualisation – the impact of virtualisation on the storage estate has been huge...
  • And then there’s that thing called coud which no one can grasp and means different things to everyone...
  • And then there’s the impact of Amazon and its storage technologies...
  • And the ever-exploding growth of data collected culminating in the marketing of Big Data storage and analytics services.

So nothing has really changed – while everything has. In my next blog, I'll write about the implications of the new markets for Big Data and flash – and what this might mean for life as we know it in the storage community. ®

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