Top 10 Data Center and Cloud Predictions for 2014

We had a fantastic 2013 at RackTop.  I am very excited to be part of the industry at this time in history and I am very excited about what we at RackTop have planned for 2014.  Below are my personal industry prediction for 2014.  I will review these in a year to see how many I got right or even close and how many were dead wrong. Let me know what you think and if you have any predictions of your own that you feel strongly about.

My Data Center and Cloud Predictions for 2014

1. Hybrid Storage will continue to be the true disruptor of storage in the data center. Hybrid storage leverages the best features of DRAM, Nand flash, and spinning disk to provide customers with high performing storage at a cost that is unbeatable by other architectures.

2. All Flash storage arrays and server based flash will continue to grow in the data center, but at less than half the rate of hybrid storage arrays. All flash storage meets a specific niche, but the requirement and business case for all flash storage is not as large as the one that requires economical and scalable storage for every other use case. Server side flash meets some other specific use cases, but can leave resources stranded and tends to be a higher total cost then the best shared storage.

3. End User Computing – CIO’s will stop thinking about traditional desktops vs virtual desktops and start thinking about a complete end user computing solution to satisfy the business operations cost effectively and securely. Bring Your Own Device will be the thread and requirement that will pull the entire strategy through and raise the priority of end user computing within the CIO’s annual plan.

4. Customer Controlled Encryption – Recent security breaches within the government and private sector will lead customers and cloud tenants to have more control over their own destiny. Customers will seek solution where they control the encryption and private keys in order to prevent cloud providers, governments, and competitors from accessing their data.

5. The Explosion of Data Brokering – The Health care industry already has a need for companies to broker health records. This third party trend will continue across industries to provide data retention and security on behalf of both parties as well as data format interoperability. Recent data breaches at Target and the government spying controversy will accelerate growth.

6. High and Medium Performance Flash – There will be tiers of flash based on cost for the enterprise. Very fast and good enough. To date it has been race to be the fastest in the flash market. People will begin looking for economical solutions with “good enough” performance and enterprise reliability.

7. Cloud Migration – Cloud adoption through concierge providers or resellers for the enterprise will accelerate compared to the do it yourself clouds like Amazon. Amazon and the like are a disruptive force that will cause other cloud providers and consultants to create more value in their clouds and provide services that meet the needs of business that are not currently being satisfied for the mid-market and enterprise by Amazon.

8. Deduplication – Deduplication will continue to be a feature on a lot of storage vendors’ specification sheets, but it will frequently go unused. More application providers will seek to deduplicate data at the higher level which will provide better deduplication and performance similar to VMware’s linked clones and Citrix’s Machine Creation Services.

9. Converged Architecture Appliances – Converged architectures have been a popular solution for the past 2-3 years again, but they will not displace more than 3% of the traditional on premise server and storage market. Their real success will be only for situations where it is a bundle to attack a specific business problem or process. You cannot cost effectively replace your 80TB archive storage system with any of the popular converged architecture platforms. One of the best cases for a converged architecture right now is VDI. It is easy to size a system or scale a converged system to meet a user count cost effectively. I think you will see VDI continue to adopt converged architectures at an increasing pace.

10. Phase Change Memory will continue to make strides in mobile and start to appear in select data center and embedded server applications for speed and space reasons in place of NAND flash. PCM memory will displace SLC NAND flash this year for low capacity applications.

Have a Happy and Prosperous 2014!

– Jonathan Halstuch

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