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Bill Fuller on Forrester: Top 10 Storage Predictions for I&O Professionals

Recently, I have been reading a new report from Forrester’s Vanessa Alvarez and Andrew Reichman entitled:  Top 10 Storage Predictions for I&O Professionals.

It’s a very interesting list. With the benefit of being stuck on various airplanes and airports – I have some time to digest it. Thus, I have some thoughts and feedback on this report. As much as I admire and applaud the various industry pundits, I don’t believe they always capture some of the salient points. My additions:

  1. Poor ability to plan for needed storage and storage growth
  2. Different strokes for different folks (APIs, Target Interfaces …); this is somewhat encompassed in items 2, 3 and 4 below. Basically, it’s not a one size fits all world any more. We must determine which of the potential storage markets we’re going to focus on as they have differing requirements and needs.
  3. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.


Finally, some of my thoughts on how we are, or should be, approaching the specifics of the list. (Editor's Note: This list is in terms of the 10 items in the Forrester report).

1. Storage Will No Longer Be Run as an Island

a. Nexenta already is working closely (on several fronts) with VMware on tighter integration and providing VMware the ability to manage the underlying storage (VAAI, VASA). Good start.

b. We can provide more generic application APIs, or work with some key storage consumption app(s). One thing that always has been of interest to app vendors has been the idea of being able to reclaim storage more effectively. Thin provisioning is great in terms of its ability to grow as demand for storage increases. However, as demand declines (tables are removed, files deleted) the typical block storage can’t accommodate (all it really understands is a basic high water mark on what has been touched). Providing an API that allows Apps to throw storage back in the pool would be quite beneficial. It’s something everyone in the OpenStorage community should look at.

2. Application Software Manages More Storage

a. See above. I also think there is a lot more thought that can go into some interesting value adds here.

3. Cloud Storage Becomes a Viable Enterprise Option

a. OpenStorage needs to start some resource investments here. Some of us have started, but as a movement, we need to clarify how we can add value and not be a “me too” player in cloud storage with respect to Legacy Storage Vendors.

4. Vendors’ Acquisition Sprees Continue

a. A s well as “watch out”.

5. Ethernet Continues To Catch Up With, But Doesn’t Pass, Fibre Channel

a. We need to continually look at more and more target and initiator interfaces.

6. SSD Becomes a Larger Part of Enterprise Storage Environments

a. Much of this is incorporated below

b. SSD only appliance anyone? Seems to be a lot of folks doing this.

7. Automated Tiering Will Become Widely Adopted

f. I believe this is a huge area for our community. We’ve kicked things off with several current ZFS efforts, but a lot more to do here. We have an advantage with ZFS in that we “know” more about the data and its usage patterns than simple block arrays do.

g. Provide an Auto-Tiering solution, and provide the tools to manage this. This is where we can differentiate. We, in the community, need to provide excellent visibility into underlying performance and simple tuning parameters to accommodate that underlying usage.

8. Hadoop Will Generate Huge New Data Sets

a. This already has identified this as a large opportunity.

The paper is a great start, and I hope it will generate a decent discussion in the OpenStorage Community.

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More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.