2013 has been a fantastic year. New releases, technologies, mergers, start-ups, etc have made the past twelve months a very dynamic year in the IT industry. As we here at Pure Storage begin to wind down the year I thought I’d chime in to share a few thoughts on what I am expecting to see in 2014. Are these predictions? Maybe. I prefer to consider them as top of mind thoughts that I have a lot of fun sharing.

So without any further ado, here are seven (mostly storage) IT predictions for 2014…

1. OpenStack will Emerge the Leader Automating Software Defined Datacenters.
Automating and orchestrating the vast number of technologies in a SDDC is complex. This is likely why we’ve yet to see an industry leader emerge. The OpenStack Havana release demonstrated product maturation through expansion of the service offerings and functionality. Combine these gains with the service and support Red Hat provides with their OpenStack distribution and I expect 2014 to be the turning point in SDDC automation adoption.

2. Tier-0 Storage Market Moves to In-Memory Computing
The performance focused flash vendors who have positioned themselves as tier-0 storage are facing a rapidly changing landscape. Struggles around declining sales highlight a massive market shift to the storage efficient All-Flash Array (AFA) offerings from vendors like Pure Storage and EMC. I believe we will close 2014 with tier-0 storage migrating to in-memory computing (think SAP Hana here) and tier-1 storage market will shift to storage efficient AFAs.

3. Green Initiatives Accelerate Adoption of All-Flash Arrays.
Flash storage can provide significant datacenter resource reductions in terms of rack space and power. These benefits may actually exceed the performance gains of flash. Green initiatives, such as those lead by governments in the US, Australia and elsewhere, will raise awareness of the eco-friendly benefits of flash and in turn drive broader adoption.

4. Tier-1 Disk Storage Market is Disrupted.
New technologies in the form of All-Flash Arrays and distributed DAS storage models (e.g. Nutanix, VSAN, Storage Spaces, etc) will converge from opposing angles to challenge the tier-1 storage market. The result will be global market share losses for spinning disk platforms. This disruption is prime particularly in areas like performance-centric databases or applications and virtual infrastructures. In light of these changes I don’t expect we will see much change with high capacity, SATA-oriented storage systems.

5. Big Data Begins Adopting All-Flash Arrays.
A number of big data technologies are beginning to reach critical mass and in turn are struggling with mass data management and performance. AFAs are providing new heights to be reached with technologies spanning SAS, Hadoop, NoSQL, Splunk, etc. Storage efficient AFAs provide a means to significantly reduce storage capacity and increase performance by offloading host functions like data compression, data redundancy and protection.

6. VDI Deployment Models Simplify
VDI seems to have hit a stride with adoption steadily growing. All-Flash Arrays have solved the age-old issue of storage price and performance. Software-based technologies like Linked Clones and Provisioning Services emerged as a means to address these storage challenges. The catch was these models were significantly more complex to operate than a traditional VM deployment. With the growth of storage efficient AFAs I predict we will see the market adopt simpler deployment models allowing VDI to scale both operationally and economically.

7. The Flash Market Consolidates
Flash has ignited innovation. The market has been saturated with flash based storage technologies from All-Flash Arrays, to Host-based caches, to hybrid flash and disk arrays. The market isn’t large enough to support all of the current entrants. The vendors who can deliver on the performance promise of flash while addressing economic challenges and enabling operational gains will likely exit 2014 not only flash market leaders, but as the next generation storage leaders.

These are my predictions as we close out 2013. A bit Software Defined Datacenter, part Big Data, mixed in with some VDI but as you can plainly see, flash is consuming my thoughts. I’m bullish on what I believe will be referred to as the “Flash Economy”. Flash is truly disruptive technology that is über easy to implement and delivers overwhelming benefits. So maybe I should make one last prediction. Mabey I need to diversify this list a bit more… I predict that 2014 will be full of surprises.




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