5 Top Cloud Block Storage Trends 

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Object storage may have the cool factor. But block storage has its place in the storage world, even in the cloud. 

Here are some of the top trends companies and IT teams are seeing in the cloud block storage market: 

1. Incorporating AI technology 

Storage technology, such as cloud block storage, continues to be a critical foundation for optimizing the performance of AI applications, workloads, and use cases. 

The incorporation of AI technologies across storage systems and software-defined storage (SDS) will help enterprises deliver superior value, dramatically save on CAPEX and OPEX, and improve real-world performance across all applications and workloads.

“In 2022, AI will be used to build storage systems and SDS,” said Eric Herzog, CMO, Infinidat

“This trend will harness the full power of AI for your storage estate.” 

2. Block integrates with hybrid cloud and containers 

The shift to hybrid cloud and container technologies will continue to proliferate at an accelerated pace, according to Herzog with Infinidat.

With many workloads moving to a hybrid cloud configuration, it will be imperative to have the infrastructure that supports core, edge, and cloud as well as the virtualization layer and the container layer across a hybrid environment. 

This will enhance the ability of enterprises to deliver the right end-user services with the right SLAs for their business. 

“The importance of possessing hybrid cloud integration capabilities will substantially increase in 2022,” Herzog said. 

3. Air-gapping storage 

Further enhancements are being added to storage systems, such as air gapping as an essential part of a hybrid cloud cybersecurity strategy. 

This is due to the threat of cyberattacks, which have reached such a feverish pitch that 66% of CEOs named it their No. 1 business threat in a Fortune “500” CEO survey. To make matters worse, the average number of days to identify and contain a data breach is 287 days.

If an enterprise or service provider does not have data and cyber resilience, cybercriminals will be relentlessly launching cyberattacks. In short, it is not if you will suffer a cyberattack, it is when and how often. 

Being prepared encompasses having data and cyber-resilient storage as a critical component of your enterprise’s corporate cybersecurity strategy.

One element of protection is storing data — whether block, file, or object — offline but easily retrievable if needed. Tape systems have appeared that fulfill this need. 

“As the data can be stored offline, a tape air gap prevents the information being infected with ransomware and other malware,” said Rich Gadomski, tape evangelist, Fujifilm Recording Media U.S.A. 

4. Application/workload performance and availability

Just as servers are important to real-world application performance, so is storage. 

For highly transactional block workloads, there will be an enhanced focus on application latency on read and write of sub-100 microseconds. 

While there are a multitude of storage performance metrics you can look at, latency is the number one determinant for real-world transactional performance, according to Herzog with Infinidat.

“Through the real-world application layer, an IT team could see performance as low as 50 microseconds on the read side and as low as 75-80 microseconds on the write side,” Herzog said. 

“Accepting anything less means a company is stuck in a legacy solution that is sub-optimal.” 

But maximum system availability is just as critical. If the storage is fast but not available, then performance is a moot point. 

There will be a dramatic rise in emphasis by enterprises on having their storage meeting 100% availability characteristics.

5. Integrated storage arrays 

Pressure for enterprise CIOs to reduce costs will only increase, given economic fluctuations and business uncertainties. IT leaders are scrambling to find ways to take costs out of the data infrastructure.

Due to high performance and low latency in a software-defined storage architecture, an increasing number of organizations are able to consolidate multiple workloads on to a single storage array, slashing CAPEX and OPEX.

No need anymore for 50 different arrays each running one application or workload. Enterprise storage solutions can run all 50 applications. Workloads can fit on one or two storage arrays, said Herzog with Infinidat. 

Further innovation is reducing costs. Modern storage systems can now automatically adjust caching and other performance parameters on the fly with AI accuracy or automatically.

Also, coupling that with AIOps-centric storage monitoring software with proactive support can lower costs too. Some storage companies have extended their own AIOps storage software with that from data center AIOps vendors, such as ServiceNow, Virtana, VMware, Splunk and others, reducing not just OPEX for storage but OPEX for the data center as a whole.

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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