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Ignore the pie-in-the-sky storage roadmaps. This is what's REALLY afoot

Who wants linear pricing for storage? We do!

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Storagebod Roadmap! Roadmap! Bring out your roadmaps... I’ve now seen roadmaps going way off into the future and it is a pain. As soon as I start speculating about the future of storage, people seem to get very worried about breach of NDAs.

But some general themes are beginning to appear.

1) Traditional RAID5 and RAID6 data protection schemas are still in general the go-to for most of the major vendors … but all are acknowledging there are problems and are roadmapping different ways of protecting against data loss in the event of drive failures. XIV were right in that you need as many drives as possible taking part in the rebuild; they may have been wrong with specifics.

2) Every vendor is struggling with the appliance versus software model. It is painful to watch the thought processes and the conflicts. Few are willing to take the leap into a pure software model and yet they all want to talk about Software Defined Storage. There are some practical considerations but it is mostly dogma and politics.

3) The discussions about running workloads on storage arrays directly still seem to rage on, with little real clue as to what, how and why you would do so. There are some workloads that you might but the use-cases are not as compelling as you might think.

4) Automated Storage Tiering. It appears to be getting better but it still seems that people do not yet trust it fully and are wasting a huge amount of cycles second-guessing the automation. Most vendors are struggling with where to go next.

5) Vendors still seem to be overly focussed on building features into general purpose arrays to meet the corner-cases. VDI and Big Data related features positively pepper people's roadmaps but with little comprehension of the real demand and requirement.

6) Intel have won the storage market – or, at least, x86 has. And it is making it increasingly hard for vendors to distinguish between generations of their storage … the current generations of x86 could well power storage arrays way into the future.

7) FCoE still seems to be more discussed than implemented; a tick-box feature that currently (outside certain markets) has no demand. 16 Gig Fibre Channel is certainly beginning to appear on the concrete side of the roadmaps; I’ve seen 40GbE on a couple now.

8) Flexibility of packaging and physical deployment options is actually a feature; vendors are more willing to allow you to re-rack their kit to fit your environment and data-centre.

9) The new boys on the block feel a lot like the old boys on the block … mostly because they are.

10) Block and File storage are still very resilient against the putative assaults of Object Storage.

11) The most compelling feature for many of us at the high-end is the procurement model that moves us to linear pricing. There are still struggles how to make this happen.

And yet expect big announcements with marketing splashes in May … In fact, expect more marketing than ever! ®

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