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Storage Predictions for 2019 by StorageNewsletter.com

By  Jean-Jacques Maleval and Philippe Nicolas

On hardware:

There is not a big difference between our predictions for 2018 and here in 2019.

We didn’t find revolutionizing storage technologies even if there will be a lot of enhancements in the current $100 billion+ storage industry. A report by IDC, sponsored by Seagate, projected annual generation of 175ZB of data by 2023, a deluge.

There is a strong demand. The price is finally going down drastically this year to get reasonable prices with several fabs competing, and consequently they will continue to faster replace HDDs from PCs and notebooks, and up to high-end storage systems. Over 50% of mobile computers are expected to use SSDs in 2019. The massive move from 2D to 3D NAND will allow bigger capacities and lower prices from all flash chip makers (including Intel/Micron, Powerchip, Samsung, SK Hynix, Toshiba, Western Digital/SanDisk). USB keys and portable phones will also benefit. As well the fast PCIe interface with NVMe, with higher bandwidth and lower latency, will flood the market to progressively taking the place of 6Gb SATA and 6Gb/12Gb SAS connections. High-priced but extremely fast3D XPoint/Optane based on phase-change from Intel/Micron is beginning to be adopted.

Their areal density is extremely difficult to increase. Now the only way is to add more disks into drives filled with helium inside the units to reach now 15TB in 3.5-inch form factor from Western Digital using SMR. Seagate and Toshiba will probably follow. Seagate achieves 16TB on internal HAMR 3.5-Inches HDD test units supposed to be largely available in 2019. WD promised MAMR reaching 16TB this year and 40TB by 2025. But the complete specs based on those completely new two technologies have not been released and it’ not sure that they will be better than current HDDs but power consumption. Hybrid HDDs are disappearing. The future of notebook 2.5-inch HDDs is questionable as their capacity is stagnating and largely being attacked by SSDs. That’s the same for high-capacity enterprise 2.5-inch rotating devices at 10,000rpm and 15,000rpm, to be stopped by WD and maybe by the two other HDD makers. Here high-capacity 3.5-inch units at 5,400rpm and 7,200rpm will probably be the last successful devices for their much better prices per gigabyte vs. SSDs for secondary storage. But in the competition, prices of HDDs are stabilizing. Seagate is supposed to introduce products with MACH 2 dual actuator technology in 2019 to approximately double the data rate.

The market did not rebound with the arrival of LTO-8, at 12TB native, that became a proprietary technology with only one drive maker (IBM) and very few Japanese cartridge manufacturers (only two, FujiFilm and Sony). Spectra Logic foresees the availability of LTO-9 at 24TB per tape cartridge in two years, LTO-10 at 48TB in four years, LTO-11 at 96TB in six or seven years, and LTO-12 at 190+TB in eight to nine years. Record of native 20TB for a proprietary TS format tape cartridge has been reached by IBM on its TS1160 tape drive to increase capacity of its enterprise libraries up to 351PB, as well as automation products from Spectra Logic up to 2,000PB. Tape is now about exclusively for archiving but in competition with the cloud archiving approaches promoted by AWS, Google and Azure.

With limited capacity at a maximum of 500GB on one Blu-ray disc, it’s nothing compared to LTO-8, and vendors are in limited number, essentially Panasonic and Sony.

Storage-Class Memory
Wait for slow progress into servers.

The industry has jumped rapidly on the bandwagon of PCIe/NVMe/NVMe-oF and USB Type C, this later inaugurated by Apple becoming the main interface for all notebooks, PCs and even smartphones for its fast speed. But Thunderbolt hook on with 40Gb/s bandwidth. SAS and SATA will decline like FC even with 32Gb/s speed but with less and less offerings.

Promising markets and applications:
• The storage industry increased sales with the adoption of General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR), a compliance from EU with 28 countries now in effect and necessary also for companies doing business with European organizations.
• 25/50/100GbE will gain adoption over 10GbE and Mellanox IB and Intel OmniPath connection will be adopted for HPC only.
• Convergence and more than that hyper-convergence, even for secondary storage, continue to be two major trends. It’s obvious when you see the huge growth of public company like Nutanix.
• All-flash arrays is pushing the storage system market in competition with flash as a software-defined tier. Hybrid configurations in competition with a mix of SSDs and HDDs is suffering with decreasing prices of flash.
• That’s the end of monolithic storage subsystems replaced by lower-priced scale-out architecture comprising several nodes (servers with HDDs or SSDs that can be add on demand) on a fast GbE network with, on top of that, a software managing the entire system and excluding expansive disk array controllers as one or more copies of data are split on different nodes.
• Among the most promising market for storage continues to be the video industry including surveillance and post-production with the increase of image definitions needing huge storage capacities and archiving capabilities. We can also mention life sciences, oil and gas and gaming.
• Ransomware protection is more and more added to backup software.
• IoT, market evaluated at $745 billion in 2019 by IDC, is exploding and it needs storage.
• Continue to look at what happens in storage systems following the Dell EMC merger as, up to now, it was not a hit with big competitor NetApp in better shape thanks to AFAs but it’s changing for Dell EMC storage with third consecutive quarter of revenue growth for storage since 1FQ19. Here follow Lenovo (now in partnership with NetApp) and Inspur. On its side IBM is stagnant.

Especially on cloud and software

Block Storage
Block storage means full flash, hybrid and full HDD. The battle will continue with more density per drive or board, NVMe connectivity and NVMeF-based fabric. We also anticipate that 1PB/U will become even more common with the density going up meaning that 100PB will be approximately 2 full racks and potentially less. The key point to consider is the data services offered by the array – physical or virtual one – and we see real differences between products generations. Vendors to watch in 2019: Datera, E8, Infinidat, Pure Storage and Vexata.

File Storage
For a few years now, this category has revealed new players and new approaches for specific use cases or very generic ones. It confirms also that approaches like object API finally failed to replace file interfaces like NAS or even ‘local’ access for the obvious reason: there is no integration as applications talk natively files. We identify performance, capacity and multi-cloud capabilities. Check the recent article  of file storage for cloud providers and the article we wrote about Gartner Magic Quadrant for Distributed File System and Object Storage. Vendors to watch in 2019: Quobyte, Qumulo, Rozo and WekaIO.

Object Storage and S3
This category is dead, we’re a bit provocative but it was never a real market but more a technology answer as file serving had limitations in capacity and access methods. In other words, the explosion of unstructured data pushed the industry to invent a new model and it was object storage. This abrupt remark is motivated by the fact that S3 is everywhere and eats everything. Cloud storage is the preferred model. Two players – Cloudian and Scality – thought as leaders continued to raise money after almost a decade of existence. Minio and Ceph, open source object storage, are adopted and deployed and file storage is back for a few years now. More and more applications are leveraging S3, directly from the cloud, perfectly illustrated by Snowflake, a reference in the cloud data warehouse landscape. Vendors to watch in 2019: Cloudian and Minio.

Buzz words but real solutions, Software-defined storage (SDS) is represented by several categories listed above such block, file and object storage, leveraging commodity hardware with standard components to offer cost effective solutions and good enough performance for many uses cases. It also covers some data management products, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and multi-protocol data servers. Vendors to watch in 2019: Hedvig, StorONE and Datrium.

Data Management
Pretty big category but some topics are really tied together. In data protection, newcomers have shaken established positions with new approaches and rapid support of virtualization, container and cloud. Vendors to watch in 2019: Cohesity, HYCU, Rubrik.

In 2018 and a bit before, an interesting new backup category has emerged, the backup of SaaS applications and as of today we reference at least 25 vendors listed in this article last December. Vendors to watch in 2019: Druva, Kaseya, Odaseva and OwnBackup.

For archiving, we anticipate more adoption of cloud-based solution such AWS S3 Glacier, Google Nearline and Coldline and Azure Archive Storage.

As a recent differentiator and need, GDPR will drive new practices in data management and governance.

Tiering and metadata control continues to be an attractive function with the deluge of data we live for many years now. And tiering to the cloud is now a must. Vendors to watch in 2019: Hammerspace, Igneous, Komprise and StrongBox Data.

And we add in this group the persistent storage for container that became a few quarters a must have when you deploy such environments. Several approaches exist on the market and we’ll some M&As here in 2019. Vendor to watch in 2019: Portworx.

Secondary Storage
It’s everywhere, within a box, in the same datacenter or remotely deployed even considered at a cloud provider, secondary storage is a storage companion we live with for decades. In fact, it is natively associated with capacity and the notion of protection, it started with tape or later optical long time ago but more recently it was VTL if some of you remember, HDD arrays, HDD file servers, object storage or cloud storage at cloud storage providers. Vendors to watch in 2019: of course AWS, Google and Azure, but also Backblaze or Spectra Logic and project like Microsoft Pelican.

Composable Infrastructure
Last comer in the IT technology journey, composable infrastructure has started to deliver some interesting solutions during the past few quarters and maturity continue to happen with more and more supported components. It will be for sure a category to follow carefully as new players try to convert their tries and established vendors wish to limit their server/storage erosion against the cloud promoting similar approaches Internet giants have adopted for long time. Vendors to watch in 2019: DriveScale and Liqid.

The progressive arrival of faster 5G for networks will help the processing of higher volume of storage.

Read also:
Storage Predictions for 2018 by StorageNewsletter.com
No revolution, just enhancements, with software taking over hardware
By Jean Jacques Maleval and Philippe Nicolas | 2018.01.01 | News