The Question of Storage

Data drives business and it’s exploding – there is so much of it, it could be described as an ocean. At the same time, analytics will play a vital role in keeping organisations competitive in the modern business environment meaning storage is set to become a key focus for many companies. Storage comes in many forms, each with their own benefits, and decision makers will need to make the right choice to give the business the advantage.

Flash in, disk out

Flash drives easily compete with high performance 15K RPM disk drives on a capacity-cost basis. Toshiba, for example, has announced a 16TB SSD and expects to release a 128TB SSD by 2018 using 3D flash technology. The cost and capacity of flash storage is exponentially increasing, making it the sure-fire first choice for those investing in new servers. Many also predict a round of aggressive price cuts in the flash drive market as large enterprise companies look to switch over to the storage product.

The rise of “Big Data Flash”, which focuses on read over write speed, will also play a part in the diminished need for disk-based storage. Writing performance and endurance will become less important as companies need to access their data faster for strategic analysis purposes.

Hard disk drives won’t become entirely irrelevant, however, because they will remain the cost-effective storage solution while keeping their stability. New technologies, such as Shingled Magnetic Recording, allow HDDs to increase capacity at the sacrifice of some speed and will keep this storage product relevant for the next decade or so.

The tape renaissance?

As IT departments look to drive cost out of their operation, magnetic tape storage might become more valuable to decision makers. Not all data is needed in real time, meaning more organisations can store their petabytes upon petabytes of data on magnetic tape storage. IBM has high-end tape drive available at 10 TB and are experimenting with an insane 200TB storage drive. Enterprise organisations that need to keep all their data might want to invest in tape storage, however the cost might be prohibitive for some. Magnetic tape drives run into the thousands.

Cold storage surge

Cold storage will become a hot commodity as storage vendors attempt to make their offline products faster, cheaper and denser, which are all goals for effective cold storage. The challenge for cold storage is it is generally has slower data retrieval and response time compared to devices and systems made for active data. As with tape storage, cold storage’s importance will rise as more companies emphasise big data. As the enterprise deciphers the importance of each chunk of data, cold storage can be utilised to hold data that isn’t relevant not, but could be in the future.

Enterprises have multiple storage solutions, all at different price points and delivering varying styles of performance. Whether it’s capacity, speed or stability, there’s a storage product for every need.