Top Trends in Data Storage Management

As data powers more of daily business and life, storage management is a top priority for all enterprises. 

Enterprises manage enormous volumes of data across multiple storage environments, including hybrid cloud infrastructure, software-defined storage (SDS), and container-native storage. They need to use storage management strategies that can scale based on volume, protect stored data from threats, and enable data analysis.

See below to learn about the five trends storage experts are seeing in the storage management market:

Top Trends in Data Storage Management

  1. Multicloud and Hybrid Cloud
  2. Need for Flexible Infrastructure and Elastic Services
  3. Storage Management Automation
  4. Growth of Storage-as-a-Service Model
  5. A Better Approach to Data Silos
  6. Consolidating Database Operations
  7. NVMe-oF for Databases

1. Multicloud and Hybrid Cloud 

During a major enterprise shift to hybrid and multicloud strategies, companies have to move data whenever and wherever needed to keep up with competitors, according to Ben Gitenstein, VP of product at the storage management company Qumulo

“They need to be able to move data from the data center to the cloud and then across clouds, in order to enable new workers and new applications, at a moment’s notice,” Gitenstein said. 

“A growing number of customers, like those in the analytics industry, seek greater flexibility and choice as their workflows grow in scale and complexity. For these customers, it’s not often that the forever home for data is also where it’s processed, analyzed, or transformed. To remedy this, more businesses will continue to leverage multi-platform, multicloud, and hybrid cloud architectures to get the best of all worlds and serve the many consumers of data in their organizations.” 

Handling data fragmentation and large-scale stores is another enterprise need, according to Thomas Cornely, SVP of product management at cloud storage provider Nutanix

“Many businesses are navigating how to scale and manage fragmentation as they increasingly deploy multicloud strategies,” Cornely said. “We continue to see a trend on the scale of data that customers of all sizes must manage.”

Companies also have limited storage personnel, which means that simple, scalable cloud storage solutions and management software are crucial for them to use their data for high-performance applications.

“Customers are looking for the ability to do more with their data (with more applications accessing it) but have fewer storage experts to help navigate these efforts, given the tightness of the labor market,” Cornely said. “This requires solutions that are easy to set up, use, and scale to support ever greater capacities.”

Also read: Multicloud: a cheat sheet 

2. Need for Flexible Infrastructure and Elastic Services

Meeting application performance requirements as enterprises migrate workloads to cloud environments is a challenge, according to Cameron Bahar, SVP of storage and data management at Oracle.

“Our customers are asking for highly flexible IaaS architectures that are dynamic and can adapt to ever-changing workload demands,” Bahar said. “They need elastic services with dynamic resource allocation and pay-for-use model, without being locked into specific configurations a-priori. Being able to auto-scale services up and down on demand translates to simplified operations and efficient cost management.” 

Automated software-managed solutions help dynamically distribute storage resources across multiple environments.

3. Storage Management Automation

Limited storage teams must manage data across complex networks.  

Complexity is a major challenge for storage personnel that inhibits digital transformation, according to Peter Corbett, a senior distinguished engineer at Dell

“To help overcome this hurdle, you can expect businesses to continue exploring ways that software can automate manual storage management processes,” Corbett said. 

Storage management automation improves business outcomes in several ways, according to Corbett:

  • It allows rapid and seamless scaling of infrastructure, without having to proportionally add skilled administrators.
  • It speeds delivery of services to end users, reducing friction and latency in the business workflows. 
  • It reduces errors, which are costly to identify, diagnose, and resolve.
  • The impact on the bottom line derives from both the enabling of an increase in top-line revenue and a reduction of IT expense as a fraction of revenue.

“NVMe-oF is an enabler for flexible provisioning of software-defined storage, allowing richer connectivity with good security,” Corbett said. 

“Combining smarter management software with intelligent infrastructure allows businesses to free themselves from the monotony of storage management and focus more on driving outcomes that impact their bottom line.”

Also read: Implementing Storage Automation in Data Centers

4. Growth of Storage-as-a-Service Model

Companies have begun to expect IT resources like storage to be provided as-a-service, eliminating the added complexity of supplying and configuring their own hardware. 

But those businesses also want a more personalized approach to as-a-service infrastructures, according to David Friend, co-founder and CEO at the hot storage provider Wasabi Technologies.

“We will continue to see hyperscalers, like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, lead the cloud market, but their pricing models driven by hidden egress fees and vendor lock-in will start coming into check, as organizations want and need easy, quick, and inexpensive access to their data,” Friend said. 

“This will leave room for more niche cloud vendors offering best-of-breed services, and we will see the cloud market continue to diversify with more flexible, personalized, and cost-effective cloud storage solutions.” 

Having diverse storage options financially benefits both customers and storage providers, according to Friend. 

“This will also give organizations the ability to take their pick of best-of-breed hybrid and multicloud solutions to better fit their unique needs, without depleting their IT budgets,” he said. “On top of this, vendors that offer higher speed on-premise storage will experience large growth, due to the increased demand from high-speed applications.”

Also read: Top Storage as a Service Providers

5. A Better Approach to Data Silos

Although a major area of focus in the data management market is doing away with data silos, companies can also consider a different approach. 

Kumar Goswami, co-founder and CEO of data management company Komprise, sees data management across silos as a storage management trend that leads toward a broader market: data services.

“It’s time to manage data across silos, across edge data centers, and clouds,” Goswami said. “They are not going away, and no one storage vendor can help customers avoid silos altogether. The answer is to not worry about the silos. The answer is solutions that look across the data — search, classify, secure, visualize it in place —without forcing you to put all your data into one location or technology.”

Goswami said eliminating silos from a company’s data strategy takes too much time and energy, and he thinks it’s unlikely a business can fully get rid of them. But there are still methods of properly cleaning, organizing, and analyzing data, so enterprises have an accurate and useful view of data across all departments and operations. 

Also read: Why Data Democratization is Better Than Busting Down Silos

6. Consolidating Database Operations

Managing databases is critical for storage enterprises, but companies need to consolidate their database management to simplify their operations, according to Murli Thirumale, VP and GM of the cloud-native business unit at flash storage provider Pure Storage.

“Where there were only a few key winners in the legacy database game, IT leaders are now faced with managing a growing number of databases, as developers continue to leverage their preferred method of charting data — working with increasingly large data sets, and more,” Thirumale said. 

“Every database installs in different ways, manages data in different ways, and ultimately scales in different ways. Organizations cannot afford to hire individual experts for each database to run them in ITOps. They will look for platforms that can consolidate the day one and day two operations of different databases around functions like database sizing, replication, patching, and upgrades, so they are not caught in an operational quagmire.”

Not only will consolidation help enterprises save money, it will also better prepare them to streamline data management, so companies can draw valuable insights from different types of data. 

Also read: Best Database as a Service (DBaaS) Vendors

7. NVMe-oF for Databases 

Storage technologies like Non-Volatile Memory Expess (NVMe) over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) can modernize more traditional technology, such as databases. 

Storage experts are identifying this as a priority, according to Lynn Orlando, VP of marketing at Pavilion Data Systems, an NVMe-oF provider. 

Pavilion recently completed a survey of 100 enterprise data storage professionals, including CXOs, directors, managers, and data scientists, she said.  

“Consistently, we heard that the need to accelerate databases like Microsoft SQL Server was a top priority,” Orlando said. “We believe that NVMe-over-Fabrics and technologies that enable deployment of NVMe-oF for Windows and VMware will have a significant impact on enterprise database acceleration in 2022.”

Read next: Top 10 Storage Software Companies Hiring

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for Enterprise Mobile Today, Webopedia.com, and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

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