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7 Enterprise Storage Trends for 2018

  • Enterprises today are generating and storing more data than ever, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. The rise of big data, the internet of things, and analytics are all contributing to the exponential data growth. The surge is driving organizations to expand their infrastructure, particularly data storage.

    In fact, the rapid growth of data and data storage technology is the biggest factor driving change in IT infrastructure, according to the Interop ITX and InformationWeek 2018 State of Infrastructure study. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents choose it as one of the top three factors, far exceeding the need to integrate with cloud services.

    Organizations have been dealing with rapid data growth for a while, but are reaching a tipping point, Scott Sinclair, senior analyst at ESG, said in an interview.

    "If you go from 20 terabytes to 100 terabytes, that's phenomenal growth but from a management standpoint, it's still within the same operating process," he said. "But if you go from a petabyte to 10 or 20 petabytes, now you start taking about a fundamentally different scale for infrastructure."

    Moreover, companies today see the power of data and understand that they need to harness it in order to become competitive, Sinclair said.

    "Data has always been valuable, but often it was used for a specific application or workload. Retaining data for longer periods was more about disaster recovery, having an archive, or for regulatory compliance," he said. "As we move more into the digital economy, companies want to leverage data, whether it's to provide more products and services, become more efficient, or better engage with their customers."

    To support their digital strategy, companies are planning to invest in more storage hardware in their data centers, store more data in the cloud, and investigate emerging technologies such as software-defined storage, according to the 2018 State of Infrastructure study. Altogether, they're planning to spend more on storage hardware than other infrastructure.

    Read on for more details from the research and to find out about enterprise storage plans for 2018. Click on the row of buttons below or on the arrows on either side of the images. For the full survey results, download the complete report.

    (Image: Peshkova/Shutterstock)

  • Data growth

    Nearly half of survey respondents said their data is growing between 10% and 24% per year. Sixty-two percent said their data is growing at more than 10% annually. Asked how much data storage they actively manage, 51% said between 1 Terabyte and 99 Terabytes. Nine percent said they have more than one Petabyte of storage under active management.

  • Investing in storage

    More than half of those polled plan to increase their storage spending next year, including 22% who say their storage budget will increase more than 10%. Thirty-eight percent expect their storage budget to remain flat.

    In terms of overall infrastructure purchase plans, 21% said they plan to buy storage hardware over the next 12 months, narrowly beating out network hardware and servers, both at 19%. Another 10% plan to invest in software-defined storage.

  • Data security

    With security a priority in the enterprise today, it's not surprising that the study found encryption to top the list of data storage technologies companies plan to buy in the next year. Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents said they're planning to invest in encryption.

    "Cybersecurity is very much top of mind. Encryption plays a role, but a small role in overall cybersecurity strategy," Sinclair said. "That said, when it comes to justifying infrastructure and you're buying storage infrastructure and want to buy encryption too, I seriously doubt any executives will say no to that."

    (Image: igorstevanovic/Shutterstock)

  • SSD plans

    Solid-state storage also is high on enterprise shopping lists, according to the 2018 State of Infrastructure study. Thirty-eight percent of those polled said they're planning to buy SSD technology in the next 12 months.

    "Everyone I've talked to who has deployed solid-state or flash loves it. No one who's deployed it says it was a mistake,'' Sinclair said.

    SSD prices have come down, which removed a barrier to enterprise adoption. In addition, more companies are familiar with the technology and understand its value, which goes beyond faster performance, he said. He's heard about enterprises saving a lot of money on opex with SSDs because their IT teams no longer have to spend hours troubleshooting application performance issues. Those resources can now be allocated to driving business initiatives, he said.

    (Image: jules2000)

  • Software-defined storage

    The survey found growing interest in storage virtualization, also known as software-defined storage: 38% said some or all of their storage is software-defined, while 31% plan to implement the emerging technology in the next 12 months or are looking into. Companies see a lot of use cases for SDS, particularly for general databases and backup.


  • Cloud storage

    The cloud has become a core part of enterprise storage strategies, the study showed. Many companies use cloud storage services for a broad range of uses, with backup and recovery leading the way, followed by archiving. Only 18% of survey participants said they don’t use cloud storage services.

    At the same time, it appears few companies are ready to store the majority of their data in the cloud. Only 7% reported hosting more than 75% of their storage capacity in cloud services instead of internal systems. Nearly half said up to 10% of their storage capacity is hosted in the cloud.

  • Hyperconvergence

    Hyperconverged infrastructure has been gaining traction as companies look for ways to streamline their approach to storage management. The Interop ITX research provides some insight into the trend, although we asked survey participants about it in the same context as converged infrastructure, an earlier form of the integrated technology. According to the survey, 65% of respondents said they're either using, planning to use, or looking into converged or hyperconverged infrastructure. Twenty percent said they aren't interested.

    In terms of use cases for converged and HCI technology, virtual desktop infrastructure was the most popular among survey respondents (65%). General database storage and high-performance computing also were cited as top use cases (both 28%).

    (Image: MaLija/Shutterstock)