Here are 2021 storage facts and 2022 predictions by Tim Klein, president and CEO since 1988 of Atto
Atto Technology, Inc.
1/ FC is thriving: Mainstream FC products have been with us for nearly 30 years and despite some declaring it a dying connectivity technology, activity in the FC market throughout 2021 has been extremely healthy. FC continually lives up to its well-earned reputation of reliability and stability with predictable high-performance and a flexible protocol stack. In addition to more traditional deployments, FC is proving to be effective in networked NVMe storage. NVMe over FC could become a strong alternative to NVMe-oF as system builders look for the best way to utilise NVMe over networks.
2/ Availability of PCIe 4: PCIe 4.0 is the first major change to the PCIe standard in over a decade, delivering approximately 2x as much bandwidth compared with previous gens. Manufacturers of GPUs, NVMe storage, motherboards, servers and adapters are ready to take advantage of this additional bandwidth to improve data access capabilities and boost IO/s.
3/ Availability of LTO-9: 2021 saw the availability of LTO-9 tape drives which improve upon prior gens with 50% greater storage capacity and faster transfer speeds. Tape storage remains an element of the modern datacentre due to cost and simplicity, and also because of its natural ‘air gap’. Tape backups are physically disconnected from the network and therefore keep an organisation’s backup data safe from not only cyber threats but infrastructure failures as well.
1/ NVMe deployment in enterprise environments gained traction in 2021 and I fully expect that to continue in 2022. One development that will propel NVMe adoption will be how manufacturers develop ways to work with or around NVMe’s limitations, in particular scalability and management. Also, the growing availability of PCIe 4 hardware will be helping in accelerating NVMe adoption in enterprise environments.
2/ FC saw growth in 2021 and that trend is expected to continue next year with the distribution of new PCIe 4 and Gen 7 products and maturation of new technologies like NVMe over FC. Indeed, this later has quietly become a strong alternative to NVMe over Fabrics as system builders look for the best way to get the most from networked NVMe storage. Dell recently added support for NVMe over FC in most of their storage products while NetApp has already had it. It would not be surprising to see more vendors explore this undeniably powerful union.
3/ In Ethernet, we will continue to see an emphasis on offload technologies that help to increase performance, specifically offload technologies based on Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA). Since RDMA-capable Ethernet adapters, aka SmartNICs, have been on the market for a while, the foundation has already been laid to expand upon the use of RDMA. Therefore, I expect to see RDMA-based protocols like RDMA over Converged Ethernet continue to be mainstreamed while solutions like Network File System over RDMA could emerge from the laboratory and generate greater market interest.