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Storage: Organizations Reassess Storage Strategies

By Dick Weisinger

As the volumes of data that organization store continue to increase, and as technologies like cloud-based storage and solid-state drives mature, organizations are reassessing their approaches towards storing and managing their data.

IBM recently polled organizations to get a  pulse on their future plans for storing data.  More than half (57 percent) of the organizations surveyed said that new storage technologies were important considerations for them in their planning for future business and data centers.  Bruce Hillsberg, Almaden director of storage systems at IBM, said that “the technology shifts and market forces are fundamentally changing the composition and design of storage systems. Evolving current storage technologies alone would not answer customers’ diverse and rising data storage demands.”

Organizations responded as follows as to how they plan to cope with near term storage needs:

  • 38 percent of organizations are increasing their storage because of a desire to get more business value out of their data
  • 48 percent of organizations are increasing their use of virtualization
  • 26 percent of organizations are relying on the cloud for some part of their total storage solutioon
  • one third of organizations plan to either begin using the cloud for storage or to further increase the amount of data that they store in the cloud

Longer term there are expected to be even bigger changes.  Looking out over the next decade, we can expect huge advances in storage technology that will totally change the face of data centers. new technologies are expected to  shrink storage hardware by more than a factor of  1000 over that time.  The IBM report comments that “today, an average transaction-driven datacenter uses approximately 1,250 racks of storage, taking up 13,996 square feet and 16,343 kilowatts (kw) of power. By 2020, storage-class memory could enable the same amount of data to fit in one rack that takes up 11 square feet and 5.8 kws of power.”

Solid-state storage drive (SSDs) are seen as the core technology for the next generation of storage devices.  SSDs are expected to replace the current use of flash and hard-drive technologies.  Some organizations are beginning to use SSDs while many others are considering its use.  One type of SSD developed by IBM is known is ‘racetrack memory’.  It uses no moving parts and works by using the spin of electrons to locate atoms in positions on very fine nanowires.
  • 43 percent of organizations say that they plan to use SSDs
  • 75 percent agree that the main motivation for using SSDs are the increased speed and smaller footprint
  • 71 percent say that today the main reason for holding them back is the cost
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