The storage industry is rapidly evolving at every level. It is not just the technology itself which is undergoing constant transformation, but the very ways in which it is distributed, managed, and expended which are also rapidly diversifying. For the industry as a whole, this is indicative of a need to not only expand into better options, but to innovate a complex, diverse range of options which are able to address each of these variables. As it turns out, this is exactly what is happening.
The Fall of Integrated Systems
Though integrated storage systems have long developed a reputation for being clunky and outdated, they have continued to be a mainstay in the storage industry. This success is largely based on a resigned acceptance due to a lack of viable alternatives. Recently, many software only based storage systems have begun to challenge to the dominance of integrated systems, finally achieving a level of reliability and supportability on par with more established methodologies. Behemoths such as Facebook and Google have already moved towards this newer model, and have profited considerably in increases in efficiency and flexibility. This is indicative of an industry wide shift towards more efficient options which are able to adjust with ease to a constantly expanding, evolving technology.
Traditionally, storage systems have linked performance and capacity so closely that one cannot be increased without simultaneously increasing the other, whether this is necessary or not. This leads to a pattern of ongoing waste, in which one resource is chronically underused, and an increase in both the upfront costs of the system as well as on a day to day operational level. These unused resources must be powered, cooled and housed, all of which use up substantial resources. Software only systems allow the flexibility to move around these limitations, avoiding a significant amount of waste.
Meeting the Needs of an Increasingly Diverse
Not only is the size of data storage needs increasing at a rapid fire pace, the very definition of size within the storage industry has morphed. It is no longer a question of how large a file system can be supported, but how many it can host. The growing importance of shared systems and the introduction of microsystems mean that the needs of business storage solutions have diversified. The old standard simply does not have the scalability to address this need. Even this number is not quite as quantifiable as it once was, as differing file systems become increasingly integrated and codependent.
The current market demands efficiency, flexibility, and room for growth along with established support and reliability. Traditional markets are failing these expectations. Thankfully, innovative and exciting solutions are being introduced and implemented on a weekly basis.