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Predictions of Storage Vendors for 2023

From 58 companies

Like every year, StorageNewsletter.com asked vendors for their next year perspectives. This year we have collected the answers of 58 storage firms with the following leading topics:

  1. The #1 prediction is related to cloud and edge in all its forms, hybrid and multi, coupled with the operating and charge model representing more than 32%,
  2. Second topic is represented by data management with 29%,
  3. Ransomware and cybersecurity received 25%,
  4. more than 16% is related to energy and ESG,
  5. and finally data access and sharing just above 10%.

Acronis (Candid Wuest, VP global research)
Ransomware on rise
The ransomware threat landscape continues to expand and evolve as attackers become more skilled. While there is a shift towards more data exfiltration, the main actors continue to professionalize their operations. Additionally, most large players are looking at the cloud environment beyond expanding to MacOS and Linux. Based on this, we expect the number of attacks to continue to grow as they are still profitable, especially when cyber insurance covers some of the impact.

Data breaches
The growing amount of data, combined with the complexity of interconnected cloud services, makes keeping track of data more challenging for organizations. Often a bad configuration or weak authentication is the origin of the data leak. The requirement for multiple parties to access the data makes it harder to keep it encrypted and protected, which will lead to advances in privacy-friendly computing.

Phishing beyond emails
It’s no secret malicious emails, and phishing attacks continue to be sent by the millions and show no signs of slowing down. Using previously leaked data, attackers will continue to try to automate and personalize the attacks for example with the help of AI bots. Socially engineered scams like Business Email Compromise Attacks (BEC), are increasingly spreading over other messaging services like text messaging, Slack, Teams chat, etc., to avoid filtering and detection. Phishing, on the other hand, will continue to use proxies to capture session tokens, steal MFA tokens, and use diversions like QR codes to hide itself further.

Alluxio (Haoyuan Li, CEO and founder)
Multi cloud adoption accelerating as organizations’ data strategies evolve
As more organizations evolve their data strategies in 2023, multi-cloud data infrastructure adoption is accelerating and will become the new norm. Organizations are expected to embrace this trend and ensure their cloud applications are portable regardless of cloud provider. More organizations will transform cloud computing into an undifferentiated commodity and ease application burden. They aim to realize flexibility, security, and agility while simplifying their operations.

Cloud adoption becomes heavily influenced by cost optimization
Cloud adoption is being influenced by a greater focus on cost optimization in 2023. Even though the public cloud has catalyzed the growth of countless companies, the global economic uncertainties will drive large organizations with data-intensive workloads to recalibrate their cloud strategies with a higher emphasis on cost optimization, such as reducing egress costs. The focus will be on the ROI and TCO of their infrastructure, either in the cloud, on-premises, or both.

More large-scale analytics and AI workloads will be containerized, but the talent pool is a bottleneck
In the cloud-native era, Kubernetes has become the de facto standard, with a variety of commercial platforms available on the market. Organizations are increasingly deploying large-scale analytics and AI workloads in containerized environments. While containers provide many benefits, the transition to containers is very complex. As a result, in 2023 the main bottleneck to container adoption will be the shortage of talent with the necessary skill set for tools like Kubernetes.

Big models for AI driving innovations in specialized infrastructure and solutions
Over the past few years, AI and deep learning have become mainstream and reached the same maturity level as data analytics. Big models, from OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 image generation model to Google’s LaMDA conversation agent, are expected to dominate the landscape in 2023. Billions of files will be used to train big models for longer periods of time, requiring more specialized infrastructure and solutions. Next-gen AI infrastructure will be developed to handle the scale.

From centralized Hive catalog to open table formats in data lakes
With data lakes becoming the primary destination for a growing volume and variety of data, having a table format for data stored in a data lake is a no-brainer. More organizations now have realized that Hive catalogs have become the central bottleneck. In the cloud-native era, decentralized open data table formats are popular, especially in large-scale data platforms. In 2023, we can expect to see more enterprise data being stored in open table formats as Apache Iceberg, Hudi and Delta Lake are rapidly adopted.

Demand for simplified data access and data sharing on the rise
Data has become increasingly distributed as the amount of data grows. In 2023, organizations will have an ever-increasing need to manage their scattered data wherever it exists. Furthermore, data sharing across organizations and platforms will become more critical. It will be necessary for organizations to develop and implement a data strategy for managing and sharing distributed data across regions, organizations, clouds and platforms.

Arcitecta (Jason Lohrey, CTO)
Storage will up its ability to respond to cyberattacks
An organization’s data is one of its highest-value assets and the target for state-sponsored actors and cybercriminals. Given the number of attacks and breaches in 2022, storage will up its data protection abilities and evolve from passive repositories for data (with little or no cyber resilience) to active systems that are explicitly designed to protect against ransomware, malicious destruction, and data theft. Given the escalating threats, these capabilities are incredibly timely. 

De-duping won’t be enough; reassessing data generation and lifecycle management
There’s a lot of duplicated data in almost every organization, and de-duplicating storage systems can significantly reduce the amount of wasted space. While de-duping is an essential tool for storage cost reduction, organizations will need to focus on the bigger data-creation problem once everything has been perfectly de-duplicated. We are simply generating more data than we need. In 2023, there will be a greater focus on data quality, value, and lifecycle. There will be a rise in the use of data management systems that become the primary interface to storage. 

Storage will get cheaper, but not how you might imagine
The contemporary wisdom is that the cloud is the cheapest form of storage. However, competition to manage massive amounts of data will drive new products from vendors with on-premises storage that is cheaper than the cloud in 2023. New approaches will allow organizations to minimize costs by maintaining the flexibility to transition between different storage products and vendors dynamically and transparently, regardless of whether they are in the cloud, on-premises, or a combination of both.

Atempo (Ferhat Kaddour, VP sales and alliances)
We see Active Archive deployments to further increase in 2023 due to the combination of ransomware threats and the need to reduce energy consumption.

While data security has been an ongoing concern for the past couple of years, data immutability is now a major expectation. Requirements go beyond the “one immutable offline copy” mantra and are evolving towards an end-to-end model to be implemented for all data storage tiers, including disk, cloud or active archives.

  • In addition to data immutability, IT teams expect tighter integration between their disaster recovery, storage, and anti-ransomware systems with smart integrity controls, automatic sanity check, global assessment, and monitoring of their security posture and cyber resiliency.
  • With the background energy crisis, storage teams will implement more automated data tiering to less energy-intensive storage that are more in line with data usage frequency. They will push end-users to self-drive their datasets to archive tiers in hybrid environments increasing their cost/energy /security ratio.

We also see growing expectations for converging structured and unstructured data from organizations leveraging big data volumes such as industrial or academic research, HPC, finance, etc. Viewing and analyzing all data types and storage is but a starting point, users are also expressing the need for simple and storage-agnostic global data management. To that end, a global namespace might be the answer to their needs.

Axcient (Rod Mathews, CEO)
MSPs must optimize their operations for success in 2023

  • To take advantage of new outsourced IT opportunities in 2023, MSPs must simplify their tech stack and optimize to scale.
  • 87% of MSPs use more than one BCDR solution, with an average of 3 vendors. 46% report that these systems are too complex and challenging to operate, leading to excessive labor, support, and training costs. 27% say the inefficient systems and extreme process steps in service delivery led to higher operating costs.
  • IT and security will continue to be critical functions essential to SMB health and growth, giving MSPs who can overcome their scaling and profitability challenges an opportunity to grow in 2023.

Investment in people and relationships will be more important than ever in channel

  • Remote work has decreased employee engagement and impacted mental health. Enrolling team members in a meaningful mission, building training opportunities and career paths, and supporting work/life balance are critical.
  • Likewise, channel relationships are strained as vendors consolidate and MSPs feel less alignment from vendors with their business model. MSPs are looking for vendors who demonstrate real, focused commitment to MSP-friendly technology, terms, support, training, flexibility, and responsiveness – plus authentic engagement in peer groups and communities.

*Source: “Optimizing BCDR Can Help MSPs Fight Off Recession and Grow”, Channelnomics and Axcient, October 2022

Burlywood (Tod Earhart, CTO and founder)
Increased Awareness of Benchmarks vs. Real-world Workloads
Industry high-performance architects will change qualification processes and tools to fit their applications. The use of the legacy HDD-based qualification strategy applied to SSDs is a core contributor to the issues with SSD performance. The physical properties of an HDD result in a simple, single-threaded, reliable performance model making it independent of workload. The simple streaming and random IO test suite for HDDs fully characterize their performance characteristics. Conversely, SSDs are multi-threaded and mixed with background processes that result in behavior that changes dramatically based on the production workload. Therefore, the results obtained from applying simplistic HDD performance tests to SSDs are very misleading. The standard benchmarking and qualification tools do not expose the performance variability seen under production workloads. Committed to optimal performance, architects will look to achieve more accurate SSD testing against real production workloads.

NAND/Dram Supply Contraction will Likely Overcorrect
The memory industry has announced several reductions in output for NAND and Dram while simultaneously cutting investment in future output.  The industry has often gone through these large fluctuations in over and under-supply cycles which we see play out time and time again.  With the slowing rollout of the next process technology and the cuts in output capacity, we will likely see another overcorrection and shortage in supply in 2H 2023 into 2024.

SSDs Continue to Diverge from the Legacy of HDDs
Originally built to amplify HDDs to easily integrate into existing IT infrastructure, applications are increasing the stress on SSDs, amplifying the adverse side effects of HDD emulationA recent paper published by IDC and Lumen (Edge Computing Solutions Powering the 4th Industrial Revolution) indicated that ninety percent of business leaders need a latency of 10 ms or less to ensure the success of their applications. Seventy-five percent require a latency of 5 ms or less for edge initiatives. In a 2022 OCP conference presentation, Meta cites latency stalls of 1s every minute and 10s every 3 days across their SSD fleet causing a significant impact on services. This issue is pervasive across the data center market and driving multi-billion dollar industry initiatives in search of a solution. SSD architecture has remained similar across significant advances in memory (e.g., storage class memory), interfaces (e.g., PCIe), protocols (e.g., NVMe), and packaging (e.g., EDSFF). Expect new approaches to controller firmware, device evaluation, qualification methodology, testing tools, and performance metrics, a smaller and smaller form factor, and the rise of Workload Aware SSDs that are optimized against real-world production workloads.

Catalogic Software (Ken Barth, CEO)
2022 was full of IT challenges that will continue well into 2023 with the uncertainty in the return of workers and in IT budgets, as corporations work to lessen supply chain risks and deal with continuing disruptions from Covid outbreaks. A recession would drive more layoffs for IT vendors and further delay corporate digital transformation initiatives.

One or more leading SaaS providers will have a major service outage or security breach, resulting in lost data for its customers. It’s easy for DevOps and IT Ops teams to believe their data is safe in SaaS platforms like Microsoft 365 and Kubernetes engines, such that they don’t need to do backups. While generally true, ultimately your data is always your responsibility no matter where it resides, especially for meeting disaster recovery, regulatory, risk and compliance. Sometimes that extra layer of protection can mean the difference between success and disaster.

Enterprise storage vendors will deliver proactive ransomware detection and recovery capabilities in their primary storage systems. Data scanning with the ability to detect anomalous patterns has already become available in secondary storage and backup software modules (such as Catalogic’s DPX GuardMode), that provides early detection of ransomware directly to backup admins, and the ability to rollback just the affected data.

Cloudian (Jon Toor, CMO)
Object storage encompasses primary data
Object storage takes on a primary data role in 2023, both in the cloud and on-prem. Most data analytics/lakehouse providers now support object storage, including Teradata, Snowflake, Microsoft SQL Server, Vertica, and Greenplum. In 2023, users will increasingly save cost and time by moving their analytics applications to the data, rather than the other way around. 

Hybrid cloud fulfills its promise
Today, “hybrid cloud” usually means secondary storage in the cloud. Three forces now conspire to drive true hybrid computing: 1) Customers are seeking to control Opex, as operating profits becomes a key metric. On-prem object storage, which is commonly Capex, can help. 2) Most new workloads are now cloud native. Deploying those on-prem will require a cloud-native infrastructure. 3) AWS now speaks of a “continuum”, spanning the cloud and on-prem worlds. AWS Outposts Servers, which are now shipping, make that concept accessible for all AWS-based workloads.  

Flash gains foothold in object storage
Flash used to be a small part of the object storage world, but as users increasingly adopt object storage for primary data – and as flash prices decline – flash deployments will rise.

Cohesity (Brian Spanswick, CISO)
As we think about the data security, data management, and storage industries in 2023, 2 dominant trends will be an increased focus on preventing and reducing the impact of cyberattacks such as ransomware. Market conditions and budgets will continue to be dynamic and will put greater emphasis on the need to adopt modern platform solutions, offering the most cost-effective and efficient strategies for data security and management.

Cybersecurity and data security will become even more important for organizations, resulting in the merge of data security, cyber security, and data management. The convergence of these three areas will be necessary to combat increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks such as ransomware. Leaders in these areas will partner and build AI-powered, integrated solutions providing customers with end-to-end security that helps prevent a breach. 

Cyber vaulting will be a huge area of focus in 2023. The best perimeter security is useless if your backups are seized and cyber vaulting is the best modern method of protecting your backup data in a successful attack. More and more vendors who follow a 1-2-3 approach will turn to SaaS for cyber vaulting for its efficiency, reduced infrastructure, and required ITOps and SecOps resources. 

The role of the CIO and the CISO will morph together with a focus on security, as well as oversight on ITOps. Boards will demand that budgets be consolidated, teams be integrated, and SLAs span both teams. 

Data classification technology will go from a nice-to-have to a must-have in 2023 as more and more countries adopt stringent data privacy regulations.

Commvault (Reza Morakabati, CIO)
Strengthen security policies and procedures
Bad actors have become increasingly deceptive at infiltrating company systems, making it challenging for security and IT departments to keep their most important asset, their data, safe. To combat this continuous rise in threats, we are and will continue to see regulations and government involvement in Information Security, specifically as it relates to ransomware threats. The impact of regulation is not clear as we are all waiting to see what they come up with, but what’s certain is we can’t ignore them and need to be prepared with policies and procedures in place. 

Anticipate ransomware attacks and exchange what we learn
Anticipating ransomware attacks and being prepared for them is going to be crucial in 2023. As regulations on disclosure requirements rise, making space for companies to exchange information on active incidents with government agencies or other companies is going to be increasingly important if we want to catch these incidents right away or before they happen. 

Take a holistic approach when assessing data storage
As we enter 2023, CIOs will need to take a holistic, situational approach when assessing their data storage target map. Companies may blindly adopt cloud or on-prem based on general recommendations, but the decision should be highly dependent upon how the data will be used. We need to focus on five main areas – scalability, flexibility, agility, security, and cost. For example, the move to the cloud is not always going to be superior to the use of on-premise software. While the cloud adds flexibility, scalability and agility, it also brings with it security concerns as well as high costs. These costs can be a significant portion of operating expenses of a CIO’s budget while data center investments are mostly allocated to capital budgets. It is critical for IT leaders to look at the full picture.

Continuity (Ofer Mandelberg, marketing manager)
More data attacks, greater sophistication, bigger monetary losses
There is an old saying that generals tend to fight the last battle or the last war i.e., they use tactics that would have been best suited to an earlier conflict. The U.S, for example, used World War II and Korean War tactics in Vietnam and came off poorly to the guerilla approach used by the Vietcong.

Similarly in cybersecurity, enterprises typically proof themselves up against last year’s strategies and attack vectors. By the time they adjust their processes, beef up their defenses, and add new layers of security, they find themselves battling more virulent ransomware strains and cyber-scams. That is why it has been clear for a couple of years that organizations are always playing catchup to cybercriminal gangs. Hence the coming year will inevitably see more data attacks with greater sophistication resulting in ever higher monetary and business losses.

This brings about a vicious circle. As criminals enjoy more success, they reinvest some of the profits in better technology, more powerful systems, and better organized gangs. Thus, we are seeing the appearance of developments such as ransomware-as-a-service and the evolution of a cybercrime supply chain composed of distinct elements, each performing specialized functions that dovetail together into the eventual heist.

Slow gains on storage and backup security
Awareness about the perils of backup, storage, and data recovery is rising – but nowhere near quickly enough to catch up with the cyber-attack innovation. Only a couple of years ago, the prevailing view was that storage and backup systems were largely immune to attack as they were back-end systems. That fallacy is dawning on more and more IT and security personnel. As more backups are infected with ransomware and more storage and backup vulnerabilities are used to infiltrate other enterprise systems, the word is getting out – slowly.

But for every enterprise that takes action to shore up the many storage and backup vulnerabilities and misconfigurations that exist, there is another that is wide open to attack. In 2023, therefore, we will see well-known storage CVEs being exploited for criminal gain as organizations failed to implement available patches. Similarly, we will see cybergangs continuing to exploit gaping holes in organizational security that can be traced back to well-publicized storage and backup misconfigurations.

To lessen the damage, organizations are advised to focus on the protection of their data. Add new layers of protection across their backup and storage infrastructure to thwart efforts that bypass networking and endpoint security. Make it extremely difficult to tamper with backups and exfiltrate data. 

Insurance refusals and rate hikes
Many organizations remain unaware of the threat posed to their data by insecure storage and backup systems. But not insurance companies. Those offering cyber-insurance are putting pressure on organizations to up their data protection game. They are demanding more thorough assessments of IT, storage, and backup infrastructure before they offer a policy. Those performing poorly in these assessments face much higher rates or even complete refusal to insure. On the other hand, those organizations that demonstrate excellence in storage and backup security could save money.

Rise of automated storage and backup validation
Organizations typically house a lot of data. Whether it is on-premises or in the cloud, there are numerous repositories of storage and backup data spread all over the place. Most organizations do a poor job assessing where all their data is resides. And an even poorer job of understanding where potential weaknesses may lie.

Automation is needed to inventory the enterprise to find any and all storage and backup resources. Once inventoried, that data needs to be scanned to isolate unpatched vulnerabilities, security misconfigurations, and other weak points. Unfortunately, traditional vulnerability scanners and patch management systems focus on application, network and OS insecurity. They do well at scanning these systems, but are found badly wanting when it comes to scanning storage and backup systems for vulnerabilities.

CTERA (Aron Brand, CTO)
Data operations or DataOps, the practice of combining people, processes, and technology to improve the flow of data within an organization will gain momentum and be an enterprise buzzword in 2023.

Cloud initiatives will continue to be deployed in 2023 because of the sustainability they provide. Organizations are moving to the cloud to shrink the environmental impact of their IT operations. The cloud consolidates machine use, reducing or eliminating the need for ongoing enterprise infrastructure acquisition. Migrating applications and storage to run in the cloud also has the potential to extend the useful life of endpoint devices, reducing electronic waste and carbon footprint.

Edge computing will continue its forward momentum, despite the economic contraction anticipated for 2023. With edge’s proximity to the end user, and its reduced latency underpinning improved response times, enterprises are increasingly on board. Edge is powering AI and IoT use cases, keeping remote workforces in touch with HQ and keeping the world more connected than ever before.

CyberFortress (Nathan Anderson, CTO)
Managed services for SaaS backup will rapidly grow
IT teams are already strained and backing up and managing SaaS is complex, so IT leaders are looking to offload as much work as they can. For these reasons, companies unable to deploy their own backup solution for SaaS offerings like Microsoft 365 will be even more motivated to leverage a BaaS provider in 2023. The lower overall investment in people and technology makes MSPs the perfect match for this perfect storm.

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) will also see significant growth
It’s easy to become numb to the constant ransomware headlines, but the alarm is warranted. In 2023, cyber resiliency and planning will be in the spotlight, but SMBs lack the internal resources to meet the threat. MSSPs will fill the gap for the underserved SMB market. 

SLAs for RTOs and RPOs will grow more stringent
According to SpyCloud’s Ransomware Defense Report, organizations were more likely than ever to fall prey to repeat attacks last year. Half of those surveyed for the report were hit at least twice, a fifth claiming to have fallen victim between 6 and 10x. As a result, mid-market companies and SMBs are now thinking like enterprises and ensuring maximum uptime as a priority. Service level agreements with rising demands continuing to grow.

Data Dynamics (Piyush Mehta, CEO)
Effective unstructured data lifecycle management and data location optimization will increase as organizations drive increased efficiency to combat recession
Businesses are making rash, impulsive decisions due to impending doom in the market. New projects are halted, expenses are reduced too low, and employees are brutally laid off. Business leaders are concerned about future events’ unpredictable nature while navigating through a possible recession. Some of this stress can be relieved by data. During economic downturns, it is the single most asset an organization has. Businesses can reduce the cost of data storage by classifying data using context and content analysis, separating it into hot and cold categories, sensitive and dark data, etc., and archiving cold data in low-cost storage options such as object storage. Data will provide them with the comfort and familiarity they need to make such informed decisions.

Those who can build and be effective with deep insights into data and effectively perform data management will position themselves to be top performers
Thanks to business analytics, managers may now predict market shifts, understand their company’s dynamics, and control risks. Companies are embracing analytics and rigorous statistical reasoning to make decisions that improve efficiency, risk management, and revenues rather than “going with the gut,” whether keeping an inventory, offering outstanding customer service, or implementing operational efficiency. However, according to Harvard Business Review, only 26% of companies have achieved a data-driven culture, whereas the remaining 74% still need help with the same. The key to creating a data-driven culture in a business is a solid understanding of the data, which can be achieved through comprehensive data management.

Emergence of unified data management, as opposed to siloed solutions
The rise of big data has led to a corresponding increase in the importance of unified data management. In the past, organizations often relied on siloed solutions that didn’t allow for easy sharing or analysis of data. This was fine when data sets were small and relatively simple. But as data sets have grown larger and more complex, the need for unified data management has become more apparent. Unified data management refers to the practice of managing all an organization’s data in a single, centralized repository. Data can thus be augmented in all aspects – from better visibility and control, effective classification, enriching for better decision-making, data curation, data pipelines, secure data sharing, and building data lakes to enhance customer experiences – all by using one single software.

DataCore (Abhijit Dey, CPO)
Budgets will continue to tighten because of world pressures and an impending global recession
Businesses will have to be smarter and adopt stringent research and analysis before taking on new platforms to meet their needs.

Amount of data being created outside the data center will continue to rise
Due to the cost of processing and moving large amounts of raw data between the cloud and on premise, businesses will need to develop processes and plans for maintaining, monitoring, and budgeting for the data sent to the cloud.

Cloud usage will continue to be evaluated
Businesses will continue to scrutinize the cost of the cloud and strategize to create a predictable and workable balance between the data being sent to the cloud vs. what will remain on premise.

Datadobi (Carl D’Halluin, CTO)
Data accumulation will continue to accelerate due to two main drivers: an increase in data to feed AI/ML processes and more data accumulating from a larger body of users with more devices creating more content. Every device in the world is generating data that’s getting stored in a central system – compared to the manual capture of the past, this represents a phenomenal amount of information that gets generated and stored. 

Organizations will be forced to look for new approaches to manage unstructured data growth in 2023. Many have already noticed that the pace of unstructured data growth is snowballing exponentially faster than it has in the past. This leads to increased costs, as companies have to buy more storage, and the introduction of risk, as the organization has less knowledge about the data as it ages in its network. Organizations need new solutions to minimize the financial impact and risk their business faces.

Many applications haven’t yet been redeveloped to leverage object storage. So, much of an organization’s unstructured data will continue to be stored on-premises in 2023. Because of this, public cloud providers will form more relationships with traditional on-premises NAS vendors. They will offer branded, cloud-based, managed file services. These services will benefit customers because they have a simple “on-ramp,” they preserve pre-existing documentation and processes, and they take care of the underlying hardware and operating environment for the customer.

DH2i (Don Boxley, CEO and co-founder)
Software defined perimeter (SDP) will become dominant technology for remotely connecting people and devices
One of the most critical drivers here will be awareness and acceptance. More and more IT professionals are already using SDP successfully to connect to cloud or on-premises applications from wherever they are – the airport to the home office to the local coffee shop,  and they are talking about it.

VPNs will slip in popularity as there is now a viable solution that can help IT professionals to overcome its inherent challenges
VPNs are buggy and the performance has always been spotty. They are simply not reliable from a performance standpoint. And of course, the security issues are there, because of the way it is designed – inherent in the architecture. It allows for fast and easy lateral network attacks from bad actors. Previously, a relatively small portion of the workforce was dependent on it. So, the problems were more self-contained. However, over the past few years, with more and more people and organizations dependent on it,  the risks have multiplied significantly.

Developers will demand solutions that enable highly available cloud-native SQL Server availability groups (AGs) in containers, including support for Kubernetes (K8s) clusters – across mixed environments and across any type of infrastructure or cloud
Kubernetes alone struggles to meet SQL Server production database HA requirements due to its prolonged pod/node-level HA failover of 2-10mn. What is required is a solution that can solve this problem by enabling highly available AG support in Kubernetes, which is an essential component to using stateful containers in production. The solution(s) must seamlessly complement K8s’ pod/node-level cluster HA, allowing Microsoft SQL Server users to confidently deploy HA SQL Server containers in production while meeting database HA requirements. Bottom-line, the ideal solution must combine with Azure Kubernetes Services and SQL Server to create a single, holistic solution for containerized SQL Server.

Folio Photonics (Travis Johnston, director market strategy)
Immutable storage becomes increasingly commonplace
It is no secret that data has become a strategic asset. It is directly or indirectly tied to profitability for nearly every organization in the world today. Unfortunately, this means it’s becoming a high-value target for cybercriminals. The ever-growing threat of malicious actors will drive up demand for immutable storage. Not only will immutable snapshots be in high demand, but immutable media will find itself being implemented in storage architectures including active archives across every industry.

Fujifilm Recording Media, USA Inc. (Rich Gadomski, tape evangelist)
Sustainability to take center stage in storage
All of the major trade show conferences throughout 2022 were talking about the need for sustainability in IT operations. From Data Center World, to Flash Memory Summit, to the Open Compute Summit and finally SuperComputing. None more emphatically than cutting edge Open Compute which added sustainability as its fifth tenet. Given the undeniable impacts of climate change and energy crisis brought on by geo-political tensions and conflicts, carbon reduction and energy conservation will continue to trickle down to data storage strategies. This is where active archive solutions solve many of the pressing data storage challenges including accessibility to the sheer volume and growth of valuable long term data, tightening IT budgets, cybersecurity concerns and now vitally important sustainability goals. Simply incorporating modern automated tape systems in an active archive environment can reduce energy consumption by 87% and reduce CO² by 97% compared to equivalent HDD capacity.

Hammerspace (Molly Presley, SVP marketing)
Edge will no longer be just for data capture; it will be for data use
Everything is now interconnected with the Internet of Things (IoT). Customers and workforce are now distributed around the world, and soon most people will have broadband internet through SpaceX Starlink and Amazon’s Kuiper Project. Edge devices will continue to evolve with increased memory and compute power to be used for processing of data, not just capture. This data will need to be cataloged with intelligent metadata to make it easy to understand and use by remote users and applications.

Data architects – upcoming king of IT jungle
2023 will see the emergence of the role of the data architect become common in many organizations. Unlike data scientists who focus on BI and analytics, data architects utilize metadata expertise to solve the business needs of gathering, tracking, and making data accessible – when and where it is needed. This approach is new and needed for the world of unstructured data, which is workflow-driven, has massive unstructured data volumes, and is typically distributed across any number of different storage media and locations.

Beginning of end of data copy proliferation
Organizations have been plagued by copies of data in NAS environments placed on uncontrolled or unknown storage locations. This proliferation of copies puts valuable or confidential data outside the control of IT systems that control access and compliance. Security-focused ITOps teams will end the proliferation of data copy creation outside the systems under their control. Users and administrators should be looking for software solutions that make copies when and where needed (for data protection, analytics, and collaboration) without moving the data to a location out of the control and audit path of the management software.

Hitachi Vantara (Radhika Krishnan, CPO)
Rapid adoption of data fabric systems accelerates
The macroeconomic environment is going to necessitate leveraging data in ways that are new to companies to drive digital transformation. The idea of a data fabric is to create a single pane of glass across all the data in our environment to give us a holistic view. A fabric stitched across all data is necessary because the silos aren’t going away. Implementing a data fabric means establishing a metadata-driven architecture capable of delivering integrated enriched data to data consumers.

DataOps becomes even more crucial to business success
DataOps practices are not yet mainstream in today’s enterprise. However, what is mainstream is the recognition amongst our customers that adopting and applying DataOps is required to become a data-driven organization. In 2023, DataOps will transition from a practice and methodology conversation into a SaaS platform. As IT and OT converge, the demand for DataOps will end up serving more interconnected applications, devices, algorithms, and machine learning models that drive digital experiences.

Data catalogs will grow in importance
They help companies protect, trust and know their data – know its meaning. They allow you to take control of your data so you can find it when you need it. Relationships between data elements can be discovered. Often these things are indetectable by the human eye. And data catalogs provide a centralized intelligence function across the entire organization, and are fundamental to our journey of governance, quality and curation.

HYCU (Simon Taylor, CEO and founder)
Application and data sprawl are becoming the biggest threats to today’s enterprises. 70% of software purchasers today are investing in SaaS applications. With more than 15,000 SaaS applications available and the average midsize company using more than 200 SaaS applications, IT only controls and manages 23% of them at best. Most of a company’s critical data and services are outside of IT’s control, unprotected, and susceptible to ransomware attacks, downtime, data loss, and even compliance violations. The idea that you are going to be able to control and protect your data, the same way you did when you had all of your data on-premises, is nonsense. There is a growing need to break down not just the data silos, and data sources, but the number of applications you need to protect and recover to better manage them. We’ll start to see new and bold ways to address this in 2023. 

The second thing that we’re seeing and that has been a trend over the past ten years is that IT departments were really worried about the continuing rise of shadow IT and how to protect and recover against this. Before, we were saying, how do we get control back. Now, we’ve come full circle, where the CIOs we speak with are saying, “I’m not giving up control.” They cannot afford to have the business down for any period of time as a result of a cyberthreat or the growing number of ransomware attacks. Organizations are experiencing a ransomware attack, on average, every 11s. That timeframe is expected to shrink to every 2s in the next decade. Because of this, we are seeing backup and recovery, and data protection, be raised from an insurance policy or second-class citizen to a first-class citizen. That’s critical, because what it means is, it’s becoming a board level and business-level imperative. We ran a ransomware survey recently in which we saw that 65% of companies that are discussing ransomware, at the board level, have actually introduced new software to ensure that their data is protected end-to-end. This, in comparison, to companies that are having no board level discussions, where our survey found only 14% had implemented any kind of recovery policy. When you couple this with SaaS and application sprawl, SaaS applications are beginning to become the number one target for cybercrime. Targeting applications that have critical services and employee, customer data managed by non-IT people are easy targets. It’s already proven that ransomware attacks are most successful when targeting SaaS. This translates to the importance of having the right data protection plan in place that factors in threats and ransomware in particular. 

A 3rd prediction, with the explosion of data silos, we’re finding that more and more customers are starting to say, if a SaaS vendor cannot provide an enterprise level data protection platform to support them, we will not roll out that SAS vendor across the entire business. It’s a critical piece of the puzzle and limiting for some SaaS vendors. Customers are hungry for a new way to protect their data. In the same way that all of the legacy data protection vendors are protecting things on premises.

IBM (Kiyoshi Urabe, business line executive data retention infrastructures product manager)
Fiscal and ESG accountability will transform data center infrastructures and processes.
Hyperscale and managed service providers will continue to mature in 2023, focusing on financial responsibility, thus forcing more emphasis on expense reduction and return on investment. ESG is also forcing these same companies to look hard at creating metrics that reflect lowering the contribution of CO² prior to applying offsets. The influence of ESG to global companies will result in higher financial impacts to the companies and their customers. This shift in accountability and focus will drive transformations in the data centers. Energy, regardless of the manner that it is produced, is a valuable commodity. Reducing energy consumption improves the fiscal bottom line and results in a lower CO² contribution from infrastructure. Data center leaders will be evaluating technology based on cost and ESG impact. This will drive processes to move data to lower energy consumption models, models like moving data directly from operational flash to tape. Tape’s low cost of acquisition, low TCO, and sustainable design make it an ideal candidate in these infrastructures. Growth in tape hardware and media capacity shipments is expected to continue in 2023.

Infinidat (Eric Herzog, CMO)
Convergence of cybersecurity and storage will become cornerstone of enterprise IT strategy
I predict that storage will be part of every comprehensive cybersecurity strategy in every large organization, buoyed by cyber resilience. CIOs and CISOs continue to increasingly realize that, if they don’t combine storage with cybersecurity, they’re leaving a gap in their corporate cybersecurity strategy. IT leaders are accustomed to protecting the network and endpoints, deploying firewalls and looking at the application layer. However, all of their valuable data ends up on their enterprise storage. The great awakening in the enterprise market in 2023 will be that, if an enterprise storage solution does not have the capabilities to help combat a cyberattack, the C-suite and the IT team are leaving the organization severely exposed.

Cyber resilience will be recognized as necessary for primary and secondary storage as a safeguard against cyberattacks and internal threats
I predict that cyber resilience will be front and center in the enterprise storage market in 2023. Cyber resilience is among the most important and highly demanded requirements of enterprises today to combat cyberattacks across the entire storage estate and data infrastructure. Smart cyber criminals won’t only attack your primary datasets, but also attack your secondary datasets, like backup. New levels of cyber storage resilience will need to be deployed in 2023 in both primary and secondary storage environments. There is a growing awareness that “cyber disaster plans” need to be put in place with the right set of capabilities to initiate and execute rapid recovery when a cyberattack happens. It’s crucial to use an immutable snapshot of the data to ensure that the data has not been compromised. Enterprises will need to boost their ability for near-instantaneous recovery from a known good copy of data.

Demand for ease of deploying cyber storage, resilience and advanced security technologies will grow significantly
I predict that ease of deploying cyber storage, cyber resilience and advanced security technologies will be a major factor in buyers choosing a solution provider. Enterprises and service providers are increasingly seeking easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use solutions that meet their needs for cyber storage resilience and integrated security technologies. They want not only automation, but also the next level up with autonomous automation. End-users don’t want complex set-ups anymore. They want to be able to quickly and efficiently access forensic environments, and when it comes to recovery of data, they expect two or three clicks, and then be done with it. This will be the new reality of 2023.

Iron Mountain (Paul Luppino, director global digital solutions data management)
We will see a focus on archival/legacy data and how to classify and make decisions around what data to keep and what data should be retired.

Most organizations want to reduce their archival data storage costs and only keep what they need, but the amount of data to comb through and identify (not to mention the ability to access it) is too daunting to contemplate. When thinking about data storage overall, archival data classification will play a role in helping data owners know what they have and decide what archival data to keep readily available in an active archive environment and what medium to store it on.

Komprise (Krishna Subramanian, COO, president and co-founder)
New business-oriented metrics for storage managers
As hybrid cloud infrastructure persists, storage pros will need to look beyond data center-focused metrics such as latency, IO/s and throughput. New metrics will align with the trend toward data services, such as: top data owners, percentage of “cold” versus “hot” or active files, most common file size and type, and FinOps metrics such as storage costs per department, storage costs per vendor per terabyte, percentage of backups reduced, rate of data growth, and chargeback metrics.

Data management at edge
Disruptive digital products such as self-driving cars and smart home systems are pushing demand for edge storage and edge data management strategies. Data enrichment (such as data tagging) and extraction of just the right data sets for analysis will be important. Smarter edge data management will avoid overspending on storing extraneous data in cloud data lakes and warehouses by first filtering and deleting non-valuable data at the edge.

Expansion of unstructured data management use cases as the industry matures and value generation becomes more important
Organizations typically start using unstructured data management solutions to cut storage and backup costs through analytics and automation. In 2023, we’ll see more exploration of other use cases across compliance, legal and research. Top priorities will include data protection via secure off-site backups including to immutable object lock storage in the cloud, searching and running analytics on unstructured data, prepping data for M&A transactions and managing data deletion policies, according to the Komprise survey. For analytics, this requires enabling easy tagging, search and movement of specific data sets to analytics platforms for native access. The latter will be an exciting development to watch, given the growth of affordable cloud AI and ML solutions and mandates across enterprises to compete by better leveraging their own data.

Lightbits Labs (Eran Kirzner, CEO and co-founder)
Data-driven analytics initiatives will shift to cloud
Capitalizing on readily available cloud infrastructure allows businesses to experiment with AI-driven analytics technology and operationalize it faster with lower complexity. Cloud providers offer massive AI/ML infrastructure that they manage, allowing organizations to efficiently process and store large volumes of data without bottlenecks or acquiring expensive, specialized expertise.

High-performance databases find their way to cloud and edge
In 2023, more primary tier-1 applications’ critical workloads will start to shift to ‘hot’ block storage in the cloud. This is made possible thanks to the deployment of NVMe storage technology in public cloud data centers. These advances allow primary workloads to move to cloud storage with the performance they need to support highly distributed, geo-diverse applications.

Improved migration tools will accelerate multi-cloud adoption
One of the ways I expect the barriers to multi-cloud adoption will be cut is through access to uniform interfaces and a fully portable storage solution. This will make it easier for enterprises to ‘lift and shift’ across clouds. It also gives them a much-needed edge to negotiate features, pricing, and availability with the cloud services provider.

MinIO (AB Periasamy, CEO and founder)
Cost optimization will be #1 priority in uncertain economic environment and will even challenge security in overall IT picture
Given the current economic outlook, companies will focus on cost optimization and savings in 2023. Following multiple years of 30% to 50% growth in the major public clouds, we expect to see that slow as more companies look to optimize their workloads – and costs – next year.

This will usher in an age of cloud neutrality – where the operating model and economics are on equal footing with physical location (public cloud). The growth was previously driven by optimizing for flexibility and elasticity, but the VC-funded wealth-transfer to the big 3 is over for now, and for predictable workloads, they will repatriate or introduce other clouds to create cost competitiveness.

Times going to get very tough for appliance vendors
Vendor pricing will be under a microscope in 2023 and that is more bad news for appliance vendors – many of which have struggled mightily with the growth of the cloud operating model and containerization. Commodity hardware is becoming the architecture of choice for large scale deployments for performance, price and the flexibility to choose a best of breed software provider. Further, because there is no integration lock-in, customers have choice and that optionality drives superior pricing. As the whole industry shifts to be more open and multi-cloud, appliance vendors will come under tremendous pressure.

In 2023, data security gets makeover
Security is the #1 concern in every survey you read – from container security to ransomware. This does not change in 2023 but how business resilience is measured does. What this means is that restore times become more important, continuity becomes paramount and data infrastructure gets the same attention as detection and attack surface. The reason is simple. CISOs, and even CEOs, know that the attacks will not stop, and that recovering from them becomes as important as securing the data from them. Detection, while still critical, will increasingly share importance with preventing theft and successful ransomware attacks.

This will emphasize data immutability, restore throughput and/or continuous replication that are object storage oriented – further pressuring the legacy SAN/NAS players.

Model9 (Gil Peleg, CEO and founder)
Due to global recession and need for sustainable solutions, companies will be seeking cost-effective, “green” and sustainable solutions to decrease corporate spend as well as carbon footprints. 

Object Storage will see rapid growth and customer adoption to be used for mainframe backup and restore.

The adoption of cloud storage for mainframe backup will double in 2023.

N-able (Chris Groot, GM Cove Data Protection)
Wage inflation is coming for technicians, making their time even more valuable from a business standpoint 

  • The tech skills shortage is well known, so tools that require less hands-on administrative time will be key.
  • Tech skills mobility is higher than ever, with WFH more widely accepted among IT pros, and holding onto valuable talent will mean not bogging them down with tedious tasks.
  • Cost of living has increased, and 2023 salary expectations from tech labor will be even higher than other segments.

Buying experience and procurement efficiency will form competitive advantage

  • The shift to SaaS applications and the cloud shifts the focus from technical management challenges to cost management.
  • The shift from capital investments to monthly consumption means 36x more frequent reconciliation and analysis (from every 3 years to every month).
  • Vendors that can build procurement efficiency and minimize hidden costs will differentiate themselves from their competition.

Discretionary spending will slow in 2023. Security and data protection investments will not. DPaaS opportunity will be huge.

  • Cyber incident awareness and rising insurance costs will result in security and data protection investments that once appeared optional for SMBs to be understood as essential.
  • More firms will look to outsourcing, which is good news for managed IT service providers. Adoption of as-a-service options that take advantage of scale and highly skilled labor will continue to grow.
  • Firms will take a closer look at TCO. The labor component of any technology purchase will become part of the purchase decision process.

Nakivo (Sergei Serdyuk, VP product management)
Data management advancements in hybrid cloud
We predict that hybrid cloud storage will continue to be a dominant trend in 2023. However, we should expect more refinement of this approach. New implementations will be introduced to take advantage of cloud benefits on-premises and help organizations manage their storage assets more effectively. We can already see a new trend picking up steam to simplify this hybrid model with storage-as-a-service (STaaS) offerings from big vendors.

Data protection and recovery to tackle complexity of hybrid IT environments
Data protection and data recovery will continue to be a major focus for organizations in 2023. The main challenge ahead is probably ensuring support for new platforms and technologies. This involves additional challenges of finding streamlined and efficient solutions to protecting complex infrastructure models. For example, while HCI and hybrid cloud do offer a tremendous boost in performance, they also add complexity to the IT infrastructure. So the question for 2023 will be how to avoid adding complexity with data protection and recovery.

Edge Computing: Focus on Compliance and Data Protection at Scale
We see the problem of data sprawl and associated security risks persisting in 2023, requiring organizations to move towards scalable protection solutions. At the same time, as edge implementations grow in complexity, new compliance issues will likely emerge, so becoming future-proof will be added to the list of priorities. The demand for solutions and services that can meet regulatory requirements is still growing. So we will likely see more advancements in areas like data retention, and the protection of personal information.

Nasuni (Jim Liddle, VP access anywhere product)
Companies will prioritize efficiencies during economic turbulence, consolidating tech to drive savings
Driving efficiencies is a top priority for organizations as they prepare for a turbulent 2023 dominated by rising inflation, economic instability and the energy crisis. In times of financial stress, businesses typically look to streamline productivity, processes and tech. As such, ‘consolidation’ will become something of a buzzword. Companies will start to retire some of the tools they use in favor of investing in other technologies that can absorb multiple services. Not only will consolidating tech help businesses to save money in the longer term, but it will also remove complex infrastructure, improving access and security.

Businesses will continue to struggle with growing challenge of unstructured data
Unstructured data management will increasingly become a bigger challenge for businesses in 2023. To quantify the problem; the global data sphere is expected to more than double in size from 2022 to 2026, and unstructured data now makes up 80%-90% of new enterprise data. This significant growth is linked to digital transformation, which accelerated vastly over the last two years as hybrid working drove a need to collaborate across locations, resulting in additional file-sharing needs. The demand for actionable insights has also grown – increased data analytics to enable efficiencies and innovation – which has added to the problem. 

Unstructured data is very difficult to find and access from multiple locations and is growing on a daily basis. In addition, with organizations required to meet specific compliance regulations protecting electronic files across different locations, finding a solution to manage chaotic unstructured data is a necessity. In the New Year, businesses will look to implement technologies that can help them secure, search, store and manage their data while enabling them to access and use it for things like deep learning AI.

Businesses will look to strengthen their pandemic-rushed digital transformation for new working landscape
In the short term, employees will return to the office to alleviate the pressures of rising energy costs that may be associated with working from home. However, the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to hybrid working – people enjoy the flexibility and that means it’s here to stay. 

Digital transformation efforts and the migration to the cloud accelerated during the pandemic, with businesses putting in temporary measures to enable mass remote working. In 2023, companies will reassess the technologies they ‘hastily’ implemented. By re-engaging their digital transformation and cloud journeys, businesses will look to ensure that they’re able to support the new working landscape and improve resiliency for future unforeseen events. As such, the winners in the new year will be those companies enabling business continuity for global remote workforces – it’s clear that the working landscape has been changed forever and businesses need the tools to ensure they’re set for the future of work.

Cyber resiliency is key – from backup to immutable snapshots for quick recovery and attack mitigation
The threat of increasing ransomware and malware attacks will continue to keep IT managers up at night. Henceforth, businesses are looking to become truly cyber resilient. It’s become increasingly clear that traditional backup doesn’t cut it anymore. Backups often go unchecked and, in the event of a ransomware attack, it can take such a long time to recover data – even weeks – that some businesses have found it cheaper and more time-effective to pay the ransom. 

This shouldn’t be the case as the right technology is available to help organizations with two of their main priorities: the ability to recover quickly and effectively, and tools to help mitigate attacks. File storage solutions that provide immutable versioning will grow in popularity as they make assets ‘tamper proof’, allowing businesses to roll back to the latest versions of their files and recover millions of data sets in minutes. In addition, organizations will be looking to implement technology to automate ransomware detection as they work towards cyber-ready infrastructure that enables mitigation, detection and recovery.

NetApp (Matt Watts, chief evangelist)
Evolved cloud and multicloud
The multicloud will increase in importance as more services move from on-premises to the cloud. According to research firm Gartner, it’s expected that on premises vs. cloud spend will flip by 2025. While this continued migration to the cloud isn’t surprising, I anticipate cloud adoption will continue to accelerate in 2023 because of supply-chain issues requiring buyers to look beyond on premises hardware to ease procurement challenges and the need to pursue aggressive sustainability objectives. The rapid adoption of multiple clouds is even more interesting. In fact, 89% of companies are using multiple clouds to manage IT services, operations, and infrastructure. This seems to be a place some companies have “landed” out of necessity, or even by accident, as they worked to mitigate supply-chain issues by linking to multiple cloud providers who could each help them drive innovation and ensure security, scalability, and flexibility outside their data center. This has brought about unnecessary complexity that companies will look to address through the adoption of common services across clouds.

Skills gap
More companies adopting multiple clouds means the skills gap will move from fierce competition between employers to retain top talent, which I’d noted would be an issue in 2022, to one where niche skills will be required to succeed. It’s difficult finding talent that can work skillfully within one cloud. Creating teams skilled in managing multiple clouds becomes a significant challenge and can take extended periods to develop. Companies need teams that can innovate and build. If employees are only spending time on operations, they can’t innovate. This need will only intensify, and companies will need to become more comfortable in hiring for potential over talent, and be willing to provide the team members with the training they need to succeed.  

It will only become more important to IT buyers, and they will require more data to support claims from their vendors. Vendors will need to show they are working toward (and achieving) greater sustainability throughout their value chains and delivering product features that enable their sustainability. They will have to work harder to increase energy efficiency with their facilities and on-premises equipment, and provide improved methods for data categorization that enable buyers to look across their entire data estates and tier data, which is particularly effective in the cloud. When we consider that 68% of data is used once and then never again, we can see how moving this unused data to the cloud, where it can be tiered and moved to cold storage, is beneficial for the planet. Last year, I noted that sustainability was increasing in importance, but it has been interesting to see the level of sustainability specifications and feature granularity that buyers now demand when making purchasing decisions.   

Cyber resilience and data protections
The current challenges in terms of health, economy and war mean that cyber-resilience is more crucial than ever before. Businesses and organizations will rely more than ever on IT resources to provide round-the-clock protection and quick recovery for their data. This is because the question is no longer whether they will be attacked, but rather when and how often, so we need to address the problem head-on and a small number of small and medium-size companies are still not prepared. Previously, a business’ cyber defense strategy focussed on anticipation of the attack, but today it is more about reacting during the attack and quick recovery after it. Detection, protection and remediation will be the watchwords of cybersecurity in 2023.

Quantum hybrid computing
It will start to move from ideation toward practical application, problems such as elements of AI will be broken out and passed over to quantum systems for processing, we’ll start to see a blend of traditional HPC and Quantum to solve some of these most complex issues. This will also force us to better address cybersecurity. Companies need to think about data encryption now more than ever. Criminals are increasingly sophisticated, and companies need to be equally sophisticated when it comes to their security measures. While this won’t happen overnight, the wheels have been set in motion for quantum to be a threat to encryption on sensitive data. For example: imagine designing and building a military fighter jet, which can take more than a decade; then it’s in service for 20 years and all the data associated with the plane and its missions remains classified for another 20 years. That data needs to be protected for upwards of 50 years. And a criminal only needs to steal that data once during that protracted timeframe and wait for the necessary Quantum power to decrypt to catch up. We need to be thinking much, much more carefully about how we protect data today, from simple data theft to more advanced kind of encryption and decryption techniques. Normal computers, even high-powered computers, would take decades to “break” these encryption algorithms. Quantum hybrid will be able to break existing encryption protocols in less than a decade so new encryption protocols and algorithms can be developed sooner. While I predicted in 2022 that companies would look to quantum to address more complex computing challenges. I’m pleased there is this level of progress and forward thinking within cybersecurity and a cloud-based approach to now solving security issues that once seemed unsolvable.

Nyriad (Derek Dicker, CEO)
New shared storage technology needed to sustainably harness active archive growth
With today’s data-driven economy fueling an ever-exploding growth of storage, active archives have transitioned from terabytes to petabytes and there is no end in sight. More than ever, businesses are discovering that their archived content has new analytical or regulatory value. The need for businesses to access more and more data quickly, and move that data out of the archive and across channels faster, easier, and more cost-effectively has dictated that active archives utilize hard drive technology for performance versus comparatively slower tape libraries, or for cost-effectiveness vs. more expensive flash arrays. To address this need, the hard drive industry has been developing new technology to increase capacity per spindle such as helium sealed drives, Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR), and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR). With these new technologies, we will likely see hard drives approaching 30TB in the near future. However, traditional scale-up systems use RAID which often limits the capacity per spindle (on the order 8TB) vs. more efficient high capacity drives due to performance, reliability and rebuild time concerns. Alternatively, scale-out solutions require wasteful replication, in some cases as much as 3x. Neither solution is well suited to scale with the ongoing data growth without costly increases in power usage and carbon emissions.

New shared storage tchnology will emerge that can take full advantage of the latest efficient high-capacity HDDs, without compromising performance, efficiency, or reliability. By utilizing the highest capacity HDDs, Active Archive capacity can scale within the same power and space footprint. Such a breakthrough is needed to keep pace with data growth without subjecting the environment to unsustainable growth in power usage and carbon emissions.

Overland-Tandberg (Eric L. Kelly, chairman and CEO)
Unstructured data management continues to be data storage game changer
For many companies, unstructured data “stuck” in traditional storage environments represents un-tapped potential that’s difficult to access or analyze. The complexity of hybrid cloud and multi cloud environments have made it challenging for IT decision makers to minimize data silos and translate unstructured data into intelligent actionable information.

Data management based on an automatic storage tiering approach allows IT teams to avoid silos and dynamically prioritize and distribute data across existing and legacy storage tiers to achieve greater flexibility, access and speed. Incorporating tape automation as secondary or tertiary storage, frees up more expensive primary storage for real-time data transactions, with the added benefit of ensuring greater compliance and security in case of disaster. Tape’s proven reliability, energy efficiency and low TCO make it both a smart and green choice for long-term data storage and active archiving. These are decision-making parameters that have become more important than ever today.

Panasas (Jeff Whitaker, VP marketing and products)
HPC environments will consolidate. Organizations will re-evaluate their storage infrastructure and realize that one storage platform supporting one specific workload is simply not practical and will not scale to support the many different application performances that enterprises, universities, and research institutes demand. More IT teams will see the opportunity in consolidating these environments and will voice the realities to stakeholders that the former approach is too costly and complex to manage.

The Storage as a Service (STaaS) trend will be accompanied by on-premises storage. It will continue to grow in 2023, but the industry – and organizations – will realize that STaaS means different things: a public cloud offering, an individual company delivering it, or a storage provider offering customers a service-model delivery option. We expect to see STaaS as a public cloud offering gain greater traction in 2023, as it is a viable option for many applications, in particular activities associated with developing, testing, science, and algorithms. However, heavy CPU and GPU resources will continue to drive higher and higher performance needs from storage, which is effectively impossible to achieve from the cloud. As a result, there will also continue to be a trend of organizations keeping an element of compute and storage infrastructure on premises. Enterprises are interested in a ‘payment over time’ model and as such we anticipate this financial model taking off over the next 1 to 3 years.

HDDs are here to stay. The inflection point where flash overtakes HDDs continues to be pushed out with supply chain needs and costs. The business model is simply not there to replace HDDs. Hybrid data environments with both flash and HDDs will become more prominent as they address the high-cost challenges with flash at the same time as taking the inefficient data movement to hard drives. As such, we expect to continue to see HDDs as a significant element of the datacenter for the next few years.

Applications’ need for speed will drive purpose-built, high-performance storage
In 2023, the race will continue between compute, storage, and network. The thirst for optimal performance will drive the need for parallel architectures that make traditional enterprise storage platforms irrelevant due to the sheer capacity requirements of data-intensive, high-performance applications. GPUs will continue to outgrow the performance capabilities of traditional storage systems and drive the need for purpose-built HPC storage. As such, we’ll see organizations leverage a parallel high-performance architecture that will give them the abilities they need from their storage system. The emergence of quantum computing will only intensify the need for IT infrastructure innovation.

Concern for AI bias will drive a new approach to AI datasets: Concern for AI bias will continue to be an important topic in 2023 and will impact AI growth across enterprises. As such, organizations will gain greater awareness in 2023 of the need for 3rd-party, community-driven datasets that deliver the necessary visibility into as many different aspects and scenarios as possible to help organizations keep bias out of the system. Use of large, community-driven datasets will get the attention it deserves as being vital to eliminating AI bias. This need for vast volumes of data will be the driving force that propels organizations to invest in the necessary infrastructure to support these datasets and ultimately override economic concerns. At the same time, we expect to see emerging initiatives to measure bias in datasets. In order to determine if there is bias, you must be able to measure it.

AI will move from science project to production: In 2023, the AI community and organizations will develop a greater understanding of how to more effectively use AI and how to better apply it for optimal business results. It’s been reported that 80% of new AI projects fail because organizations don’t know how to use this technology with their business data. 2023 will be the year commercial organizations start to see how AI can drive value for their business from a production standpoint, and AI will begin to move out of the science project realm into the production realm.

Panzura (Jill Stelfox, CEO)
Rise of AI
2023’s weapon of choice in the fight against cyber threats will be AI. Expect a range of increasingly advanced solutions that move beyond reporting cyberthreats to real-time attack identification and response solutions, driven by ML. Companies will need to ensure they’re securing their model training data as attackers increasingly turn to algorithm manipulation to bypass traditional network protections.

Sources: https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/what-s-new-in-artificial-intelligence-from-the-2022-gartner-hype-cycle – https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2021/09/16/2298704/0/en/Artificial-Intelligence-AI-in-Cybersecurity-Market-Worth-46-3-Billion-by-2027-Market-Size-Share-Forecasts-Trends-Analysis-Report-with-COVID-19-Impact-by-Meticulous-Research.html 

Pliops (Tony Afshary, Pliops global VP products and marketing)
NVMe storage will get denser and denser
With QLC going mainstream and PLC emerging, NVMe storage needs to keep up in terms of density. This goes hand in hand with application demands for higher storage. But the need for data to be protected at all times is not going away – and we’ve all heard it said that as storage gets more dense, it gets less durable.  Denser storage leads to higher blast radius in case of a disk failure, which makes RAID for NVMe SSDs all the more important. Other techniques like in line compression of data also become crucial with this increased disk capacity.

Ability to sort, compress and sequentialize data before it is written to disk will become the de-facto standard in 2023
Garbage collection on increasingly high-capacity disks will become impractical, as it relies on behaviors that do not scale. Data amplification will be too great of a cost to ignore. With that said, the ability to sort, compress and sequentialize data before it is written to a disk will become the de-facto standard moving forward into 2023.

Efficiency of business operations will take center stage in 2023
The price/performance of enterprise applications will become the critical KPI for business. However, the general-purpose processors powering these enterprise applications continue to fall behind price/performance requirements. GPUs have been successfully meeting price/performance requirements – and this encourages enterprises to increasingly look at adopting purpose-built processors for data, security, and networking offload functions.

PoINT Software & Systems (Thomas Thalmann, CEO)
Active Archive software will gain importance to solve the storage problems associated with data growth. Storing and archiving the increasing volumes of data will continue to be one of the priority problems for many companies. To optimize storage infrastructure and reduce hardware costs, intelligent data management software solutions that identify and transparently move cold and inactive data from expensive primary storage systems to secondary active archive storage are becoming increasingly interesting. In the archive and secondary storage sector, advanced software-defined object storage will be available that integrates tape as a storage class for infrequently used data and uses intelligent tiering mechanisms to select the optimal storage location for the data respectively.

Protocol Labs (Stefaan Vervaet, head of network growth)
2023 will be first year that decentralized blockchain technology stores more than an exabyte of data
Decentralized storage technology experienced rapid growth in 2022, with many traditional companies exploring the technology’s possibilities. Filecoin, the largest decentralized storage network, saw a nearly 15x year-to-date increase in client data stored. We predict that by 2023, Filecoin alone will have stored over 2EB of data, propelling the decentralized storage industry forward and putting it on par with traditional centralized data storage alternatives. 

In 2023, scientific research verticals in technology and medicine will drive massive storage in decentralized blockchain technology (over an exabyte)
Research and medicine data currently account for half of all data stored on the Filecoin network, and we anticipate that it will contribute more than an exabyte to Filecoin.

In 2023, economic downturn will drive budget-constrained customers to rethink traditional storage options, including centralized cloud service providers
Every day, we create roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, which must be stored, which can become very costly for businesses. Decentralization of storage helps businesses do away with the need to spend millions on on-premise storage solutions. Decentralized storage can also be offered by third-party vendors. This creates a competitive open market and lowers prices in a market where large providers currently have most of the business. As a result, decentralization is a cost-effective model, and we predict that the global recession and budget cuts, particularly in the tech industry, will force companies to investigate alternative storage options.

Pure Storage (Ajay Singh, CPO)
Vendors will have to prove their sustainability claims
Sustainability will continue to dominate the corporate agenda in 2023. The challenging macro-economic environment, from the pandemic, the war, the conflicts between major powers, inflation and the rising price of energy has resulted in a difficult business environment. Customers are already demanding energy efficient technology solutions. This trend will strengthen in 2023 with organizations putting sustainability criteria at the center of their technology procurement process and will require vendors to prove and validate their sustainability claims. There will also be regulatory pressure on businesses to deploy and invest in cleaner technologies. 

IT organizations will demand a storage infrastructure that can deliver a simple but comprehensive range of services, easily consumed by both developers and application owners, and which allows them to drive rapid change and business transformation.

This will lead to the rise of infrastructure-as-a-code which provides a cloud-like operating model on top of IT infrastructure. It integrates self-service IT experiences and scale-out, on-demand solutions that rise above physical architecture limitations. This is achieved by,  1st, providing common frameworks and APIs to both on-prem and hyper-scaler environments, 2nd, by enabling fully automated data management to IT organizations  through policy, and 3ird, the abstraction of IT-created data classes for developers accessed through API.    

The benefits of adopting an infrastructure-as-code platform are numerous. From embracing a cloud-like operating model for more speed and agility and transforming the role of the developer, to achieving business objectives and managing costs – this model will dominate in 2023. 

Goodbye spinning disk
2023 will sound the last death knell of spinning-disk storage with the era of tiering, complexity, and forced customer compromises finally coming to an end. Why? 

  • The economics that long led companies to maintain lower-cost but slower spinning-disk storage no longer hold as NAND cost per bit continues to approach that of disk.
  • The workloads that dominate companies’ IT and strategic agendas are increasingly based on modern machine generated unstructured data which is incompatible with the spinning disk.
  • The pandemic has forced organizations to look at the human touch points associated with forklift upgrades, painful upgrades, and unplanned outages – and the need to eliminate them. Flash is better enabled by software and significantly more reliable.
  • Truly elastic “as-a-service consumption” is delivering the agility that organizations need as they evolve to distributed cloud architectures. Flash is more agile and efficient.

QStar Technologies (Dave Thomson, SVP sales and marketing)
In 2023, we will see more organizations using “Archive from the Edge” technology, to ensure all prized company data is protected from ransomware attacks. Archive from the Edge is now significantly easier to achieve as all archive class storage. Private and public cloud plus tape libraries, can easily be accessed using S3 compatible protocols. Free and low-cost tools such as S3 Browser and S3-based data movers can be used to copy, move or migrate important data across the Internet, which in the past required more complex VPN access, creating an even more flexible and secure active archive environment – for on-prem and edge content. For larger edge capacities, tape media can be physically shipped and incorporated into on-prem archive environments.

Quantum (Tim Sherbak, product manager)
Future is in the past: let’s talk tape
The use of tape for data retention will dramatically increase, reversing a decade-long downward trend. Organizations will re-invest in tape-based strategies to strengthen cybersecurity, reduce storage costs, and minimize energy expenditures. With data growing exponentially and the continued threat of cybercrime, 2023 will be the year of the return to tape. Rising power and cooling costs, and an increased ESG focus (environment, social, and corporate governance), will push enterprises away from the expense of spinning disk drives for long-term archiving. Tape continues its role as the most reliable, sustainable, secure, and low-cost storage media.

To cloud and back again
Enterprises will look to repatriate data from the public cloud to reduce their operating costs. Enterprises know they can reduce their costs if they can get their data back on-prem, particularly for data that need to be retained for long periods of time for compliance reasons. Digital data sources, including imagery and video, continue to grow exponentially, forcing organizations to confront the impracticality of relying on the public cloud for all of their data management and storage. Cost constraints, access control, data sovereignty, and longer-term retention of massive amounts of data will influence large enterprises to consider building their own low-cost storage cloud internally for access and use across the entire organization.

NVMe leads (new datacenter) way
CTOs and CIOs have been aware of their power, cooling and data center usage – and the resulting expenses (the ‘E’ in those ESG reports). Simultaneously, they’ve been trying to cope with skyrocketing user demand while demonstrating less complexity, reduction in footprint, and fewer systems. As NVMe drives become widely available in higher capacities and lower costs, the C-suite reaps huge savings in data center footprint (up to 80%) and energy budgets (up to 70%), but also dramatically reduces the burden of administration and management by replacing multiple storage types with a single, hot NVMe-flash tier which archives to their choice of private or public cloud.

Redstor (Matt Scully, channel chief)
The managed services market continues to go through a huge transformation and the days of long-term, 3-5 year contracts and financial commitments are over. MSPs should seek to work with vendors that offer flexibility in terms of contracts and minimum commitments, but also those that offer fully transparent and predictable pricing modes. We also believe that end-users will be given greater access to their data and the protection of it, with software vendors delivering self-service apps, lightening the workload for MSPs and giving end-users more autonomy, visibility and ultimately control of protecting their data.

The ever-increasing ransomware threat poses a huge challenge for MSPs. Hardware-based data protection technologies have been heavily targeted by cyber-criminals in recent times and this poses a threat in the future. The utilization of AI and ML to identify, mitigate and recover from cyber threats without the need for human intervention will enable MSPs to offer a more robust data protection strategy for their end-user customers and most importantly, deliver their data back to them without the need to pay a ransom.

As data is increasing also with data fragmentation, there will be an overload of data for MSPs to manage and today’s solution does not have the scalability to protect it. In the backup world, if you do not have the right solutions in place, you may not be able to identify all the data that you are looking to protect as you can’t back up what you do not see. An AI-powered solution will help you have better visibility of your data, highlight areas that are not being protected and help you keep up with the faster pace of data that is being created. MSPs need to embrace AI and ML platforms, become subject matter experts on it and offer a best-in-class solution that enables them to remove management overhead, grow margins and offer protection of all data sources, no matter where it resides.

Retrospect (Brian Dunagan, VP engineering)
Data management professionals will no longer tolerate vendor lock-in
For instance, data mobility solutions will need to be cloud-enabled and support data migration, data replication and data synchronization across mixed environments including disk, tape and cloud. This will enable the elimination of data silos, and the opportunity to maximize ROI. We will likewise see an uptick in solutions that support vendor-agnostic file replication and synchronization, are easily deployed and managed on non-proprietary servers and can transfer millions of files simultaneously – protecting data in transit to/from the cloud with SSL encryption.

SMBs will be more likely to get caught in 2023’s ransomware crosshairs
Ransomware will continue to be a massive and growing global threat, to enterprise targets and to smaller SMBs as well. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that today’s ransomware enables bad actors to more easily and affordably cast a wide net – especially with ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) becoming increasingly prevalent, looking for any possible weakness in defense. The second is that SMBs usually don’t have the technology or manpower budget as their enterprise counterparts to build and maintain the multiple levels of security that are necessary to keep today’s ransomware out, to know when it has gotten in, and/or to recover data and operations after a successful attack without having to pay the ransom.

While strong security defense is indispensable, we will see that next year security leaders will ensure additional measures are taken
The next step will be enabling the ability to detect anomalies as early as possible in order to remediate affected resources. Large enterprises, SMBs and individuals alike will need a backup target that allows them to lock backups for a designated time period. Many of the major cloud providers now support object locking, also referred to as WORM storage or immutable storage. Users will leverage the ability to mark objects as locked for a designated period of time, and in doing so prevent them from being deleted or altered by any user – internal or external – accidentally or with malicious intent.

Scality (Paul Speciale, CMO)
Data Security: Security will dominate IT buying criteria, including for storage
Supply chain issues and economic challenges will continue to impact storage projects in 2023 – the exception being those that can show tangible ROI on ransomware protection initiatives. This will present an opportunity for big data storage solutions with the intelligence to address current gaps in multi-level security, detection and data immutability for ransomware protection and fast business recoverability. Moreover, solutions that can provide AI-based anomaly-detection capabilities for detecting ransomware attacks will become more mainstream in the near future.

Intelligence: Unstructured search gets smart with multi-cloud capabilities and rich feature sets
Customers need intelligent data search methods to optimize data analytics and mining of the trillions of unstructured data objects they have aggregated in object storage solutions. In 2022 cloud vendors such as Amazon and others made a step in the right direction by introducing a myriad of search tools and services. But there remains an unmet need for intelligence that allows the all-important “aha!” moment to arrive far faster.

We predict that in 2023 search and query capabilities for unstructured storage solutions will mature, and vendors will integrate them with standard access methods, while still guaranteeing enterprise-class security and auditing. This will prove doubly advantageous in simplifying application development and allowing object storage resources to serve as the single solution for unstructured storage and query.

Malicious software supply chain attacks will slow open-source adoption
Malware and ransomware attacks have ballooned such that intrusions now occur every few minutes across the globe, costing businesses millions of dollars per incident and consuming untold IT cycles. We have already witnessed compromised security in commercial software solutions as seen in recent high profile attacks. Open-source software dependencies will become an increasing threat vector, causing enterprises to more carefully evaluate and vet these technologies before employing them at scale.

Integration: Tighter integration of managed cloud services and object storage will emerge
Application vendors will publish their own extended storage APIs for enhanced monitoring, reporting, performance acceleration and optimal data placement. This will be embraced by leading object storage solutions to deliver even more compelling solutions and ROI for enterprise and mid-market customers in data protection (backup and ransomware protection), big data analytics and AI/ML.

In addition, because customers value cloud-like storage services but show a preference for them from the comfort of their own data centre infrastructure, we will see increasing partnerships between object storage vendors and large OEMs or MSPs to provide fully integrated, private-cloud S3 storage-as-a-service offerings.

Seagate (Colin Presly, senior director, office of CTO)
Domain-specific silicon will increasingly be used to manipulate data movement
In an era when businesses are deluged with data, a lot is going on in the industry to reduce data movement around a system.

The amount of data moving around the system can be reduced in 2 major ways:

  • Hardware-based data reduction technologies that will grow in popularity are compression and de-dupe.
    • Compression takes a stream of data and algorithmically converts greater amounts of data into smaller ones.
    • De-dupe looks for common streams and stores a single copy replacing duplicates with placeholders referencing the single copy.  For example, 2 documents that differ by 1 word can be reduced to one data set containing the common data and another dataset containing a 1-word delta. 
  • Data awareness tools that have a great deal of momentum going into 2023 are AI- and ML-based data manipulation methods.
    • For example, when ML algorithms register data patterns at ingest where the similarities can be ascertained, maybe they can train the system to drop the first 10 inputs after 10 identical come in afterwards.
    • High-performing, fast, powerful hardware that’s close to the data (to make decisions about whether to keep or throw away the data and move on) is applied in data paths to do this work regarding data placement. Many companies do this with processing units in the data path.

Some of these technologies are being integrated into Seagate’s system solutions. There is a trend with these solutions moving towards RISC-V-based devices. 

HAMR technology will become more widely commercially available
It will power the latest inflection in mass-capacity devices. The HAMR-enabled boost in areal density will help fuel next-gen HDD development and growth through the next decade.

“Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” is mandate that is rising in importance for industry

  • Reduce. At the device level, we want to reduce the data movement via techniques like compression. By reducing the data written, the total power consumed is also lowered.
  • Reuse. At storage device level, reuse comes from using secure erase to wipe the data from the storage device before returning that drive back for resale.
  • Recycle. Storage companies look at ways to recycle the material from different components in the device and use back into the production cycle. 

SIOS Technology (Cassius Rhue, VP customer experience)
Innovations in high availability
New predictive application monitoring tools, simulation tools and modeling techniques, based on the wealth of logs, data, and interconnected devices will combine with robust HA solutions capable of identifying threats to availability, predicting and mitigating impending outages, and providing IT administrators with greater diagnostics for unexpected incidents. These innovations will drive reductions in downtime and faster (spell out RCAs) by combining HA solution expertise with the power of data, learned behavior, and self learning technology. 

Cloud migration and repatriation will continue and bring new demand
Many companies fast tracked their cloud adoption journey due to world-changing events in the last 2+ years and traded on-prem data centers for the cloud. This cloud migration will continue, and at the same time, many companies will realize that migration itself was not a one size fits all solution nor a panacea for issues of  ‘application’ availability. Needs for high availability of stateful applications in the cloud will prompt companies to use clustering software. Repatriated systems will leverage solutions that minimize churn, and the need for multiple application availability vendors.

Data democratization drives need for HA of applications, databases, ERPs, and stored data
Advancements in virtualization, and continued adoption of cloud computing and cloud storage have enabled companies to make more data available to more users than ever before. This data democratization trend has been growing for several years, giving non-specialists the ability to access and analyze more data from more sources – potentially enabling more informed decision-making and increased efficiency companywide. In 2023 the ongoing trend of data democratization will continue – driving increased usage of applications such as SQL Server, Oracle and SAP HANA and creating a heightened requirement for high availability for these databases and their associated applications and data storage. In 2023, more companies will invest in advanced clustering and disaster recovery solutions to protect these systems from downtime and disasters.

SoftIron (Phil Straw, CEO)
Data and cloud sovereignty accelerated globally – driven in different geos by some combination of supply chain issues, reliance on nations states for infrastructure (whether that be the big US hyperscalers and/or China), desire to grow domestic skills and supply chains, security concerns over state actors. Some hyperscalers responded with local deals to run regional clouds, but this will likely turn out to be early attempts to solve  more fundamental issues.

Problem with “clouds by composition”  was acknowledged – whether with Greenlake, Apex, Alloy or SoftIron’s HyperCloud – the industry and either tacitly or explicitly acknowledged that building (aka. composing from separate technologies) and running clouds is more complex than it should be. Large IT vendors are using business models and PS to obfuscate that. SoftIron launched the first technology to solve the problem at source.

Global recession focussed minds of CIOs on efficiency in service delivery – whether best use of it skills, reducing energy consumption, using IT to innovate, the best CIOs are locking in innovative strategies to survive and thrive in ’23 and beyond.

Spectra Logic (David Feller, VP of Product Management and Solutions Engineering)
Growing on-premises data lakes and more hybrid workflows
Bandwidth, access and cost concerns mean that very large and active data lakes will remain on-premises for sectors such as genomics, life sciences, university institutes, and government research, that generate and store massive volumes of data. In other environments, hybrid cloud workflows remain key. The media and entertainment industry leads the way here, in part due to its distributed workflows and the huge public cloud investment made by AWS to support this market. And with data backup rapidly transitioning to cloud interfaces (S3) and leveraging the combination of cloud compute, databases, and long-term storage, on-premises solutions will need to adapt for cloud interoperability.

Ransomware attacks highlight the importance of preparation
While the conventional 3-2-1 rule remains important for data protection, ransomware has inserted a grave threat into the effort to safeguard data with its ability to encrypt online versions of data. IT professionals will do well to keep an air gapped copy of data onsite as well as retain an immutable copy online. Modern solutions that include object lock and deliver triggered snapshots will provide important new layers of protection.

We’re on the cusp of revolutionizing how enterprises govern data
New software packages that deliver self-service data protection that separates the value of specific data from the mundane world of backup will be essential to intelligently protecting valuable assets. A side benefit of this split model is that organisations will realize significant cost and capacity savings by reducing the amount of active data to backup while, at the same time, preserving data across any combination of on-premises and cloud storage for long-term usage, analysis and production. 

StorCentric (Surya Varanasi, CTO)
Ransomware threat will continue to grow and become increasingly aggressive
This will be true not just from a commercial standpoint, but from a nation-state warfare perspective as well. Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, reminded us how this past year illustrated, “… how one key supply chain incident can lead to wide ranging consequences. Compromising the right partner is a force multiplier for threat actors. Unlike a financially motivated actor, nation-state threat actors may skip the breach altogether, and opt to simply keep the access to leverage at a later time.” For this reason, channel solutions providers and end users will prioritize storage solutions that can deliver the most reliable, real-world proven protection and security. Features such as lockdown mode, file fingerprinting, asset serialization, metadata authentication, private blockchain and robust data verification algorithms, will transition from nice-to-have, to must-have, while immutability will become a ubiquitous data storage feature. Solutions that do not offer these attributes and more won’t come even close to making it onto any organization’s short-list.

Consumer attitudes towards online security and privacy will heighten
A key driver here will be that while enterprises getting hacked and hit by ransomware continue to make the headlines, cybercriminals have begun to hit not just enterprise businesses with deep pockets, but SMBs and individuals. SMBs and individuals/consumers are actually far more vulnerable to successful attacks as they do not have the level of protection that larger enterprises have the budgets to employ. As work from home (WFH) and work from anywhere (WFA) remain the paradigm for many across the data/analytics field, they will require data protection and security solutions that can also protect them wherever they are.

Ideal cybercrime defense will be a layered defense that starts with powerful password, and continues with Unbreakable Backup
Backup has become today’s cyber criminals’ first target via ransomware and other malware. An Unbreakable Backup solution however can provide users with 2 of the most difficult hurdles for cyber criminals to overcome – immutable snapshots and object locking. Immutable snapshots are by default WORM, but in the coming year, sophisticated yet easy to manage features like encryption where the encryption keys are located in an entirely different location than the data backup copy(ies) will become standard. And then to further fortify the backup and thwart would be criminals in the coming year we will see users leveraging object locking, so that data cannot be deleted or overwritten for a fixed time period, or even indefinitely.

StorMagic (Bruce Kornfeld, CMPO)
Ransomware and cyber risk remain top of mind for company executives. With new threats emerging, more organizations will adopt a 3-2-1-1-0 data protection strategy. This includes keeping three copies of data on two different storage media types, one offsite and one offline, with zero errors (meaning organizations should verify the usability and accuracy of all backup copies).

AI is booming in virtually every industry. This will alter the landscape of unstructured data – more if it will need to be stored, protected and managed, in many cases, forever.

As the implementation of regulations continues to progress around the world, video surveillance data will need to be stored, protected and analyzed for much longer periods of time than we ever imagined.

StorPool (Boyan Ivanov, CEO)
New technologies and standards in storage and server hardware
Compute Express Link (CXL), a CPU-to-device connection standard, like PCIe, is finally becoming available in standard x86 servers. In the first generation of servers that support it, CXL will enable memory expansion modules, so servers with several terabyte RAM will be economical. Previously RAM was only available in DDR4 Registered DIMMs, which were limited in number and capacity. 

CXL persistent memory modules will supersede Optane NVDIMMs as the most popular persistent memory technology because of wide compatibility and easier integration. And finally, CXL-connected “memory-semantic” SSDs will make their first small steps on the market over time, becoming a mainstream product like NVMe SSDs did in the previous decade.

Flexible Data Placement (FDP), a standard for SSDs for write amplification reduction, will become more widely available in datacenter SSDs. With it, the life of flash media is extended to support heavier workloads for longer periods of time. FDP requires support from the storage software, so it will be interesting to follow how it pans out.

QLC SSDs will grow their storage market share for colder storage use cases
QLC SSDs continue to gain popularity in storage products that serve “capacity-optimized” and “capacity-oriented” applications – i.e., data lakes, analytics, backups, disaster recovery, and dev/test environments. For primary workloads like heavily-loaded databases, virtual desktops, and web servers, the 15%-20% lower cost per terabyte compared to TLC SSDs does not justify the lower drive endurance, lower write performance, and higher read and write latency. QLC SSDs simply do not provide sufficient value for money in the context of primary storage systems yet. They will become attractive for primary workloads as hardware vendors find ways to improve their endurance to at least 1 DWPD or introduce technologies like Flexible Data Placement in next-generation QLC SSDs.

Legacy storage architectures continue facing headwinds everywhere
The dual-controller shared-disk primary storage array designs and the software-defined implementations of that architecture make sense for simple deployments with predictable workload requirements. However, they are losing ground both at the edge and in core data centers because today’s environments are neither simple nor predictable.

At the edge, small HCI solutions are pushing out standalone storage systems thanks to their flexibility, ease of deployment and management, and simple approach to HA.

In core data centers, modern applications demand massive I/O parallelization and low latency at scale. Fleets of standard servers are preferred for medium- and large-scale infrastructure deployments. New clouds use such building blocks to deliver structured and unstructured data storage services. Customers need solutions that meet their performance needs, and enable end-to-end automation and a wide range of hardware choices, while deployments, upgrades, and refreshes happen on their timeframes. Continuous workload monitoring, the need for workload rebalancing between data silos, and performance degradation due to usable capacity consumption are all becoming things of the past.  

Storage services priced for performance and size independently
Public clouds are starting to offer independent pricing of capacity and performance. Previously the pricing of block storage services was based on performance tiers. It is now moving to independent size (gigabyte provisioned) and performance (IO/s, MB/s) pay-per-use pricing. Example services are AWS EBS gp3 and Google Cloud HyperDisk. We expect that similar pricing of storage services will be used by smaller service providers and managed storage vendors.

Latency-optimized vs. throughput-optimized CPUs
In public and private clouds, the split between latency-optimized configurations (milliseconds query response time) and throughput-optimized server configurations (dollar per unit of work, lower power per core) is becoming increasingly wider. For throughput-optimized workloads, ARM servers are getting a bigger market share with Amazon’s Graviton CPUs and Ampere Altra CPUs. X86 CPU vendors are also experiencing a split in their portfolio, with some products targeting 2-3W per core for throughput-optimized workloads, while other server CPUs use 10W+ per core for latency-optimized workloads. 

In 2023 many public and private clouds will have 2 compute offerings – one for batch processing and throughput-optimized workloads and a 2nd one for online transaction processing and latency-sensitive workloads. 

Verge.io (Yan Ness, CEO)
Mass digitization still accelerating (and will continue to do so)

  • Data creation, data consumption, staff and Opex costs, and cost of capital will create significant pressure on CIOs and, ultimately the bottom lines of everyone. It’s the data’s fault.
  • No one has less data or computing needs than last year, never has or ever will. When does it plateau? Has anyone heard of Metaverse? The need for more compute, and more data will accelerate.
  • Cost-of-capital constraints may limit investment, but the rapid consumption and distribution of data will not. The rate of data created is no longer dependent on economic conditions. 

Computing will be more and more distributed

  • Latency will require we spread the ability to run workloads as we spread peanut butter on a piece of bread – easily and evenly to the Edge, Core Data Center and cloud.
  • Your phone will do more of the work than the cloud. It’ll have to because the sum of 1 billion phones will out-compute all the data centers.

Capital constraints will continue, and CIOs will seek more cost controls

  • Capex is expensive as ever, and so are staff. Organizations need something that runs on cheaper hardware and requires less staff. This will be especially true as workloads need to run further and further away from a data center.

Complexity will come to a head for public cloud (big one)

  • We will need new, innovative ways to better leverage software to deliver cloud-like capabilities, everywhere, in a much simpler way. The new FinOps career path is evidence that the cloud has become too complex. It’s ironic that FinOps salaries, overhead, and tools will need to be added to the cost structure of the public cloud for an accurate TCO analysis.
  • Microsoft Windows commoditized computing and put it on the laps and in the hands of everyone. Before that, only hobbyists and experts used computers. Ken Olsen, the former CEO  of Digital (DEC), famously said, “why would anyone need a computer in a home?” The cost of computing entered a paradigm shift with Windows and the PC. It’s time for the same disruption to “cloud computing”.

Wasabi (Andrew Smith, senior manager, strategy and market intelligence, and David Boland, VP cloud strategy)
Cloud-based backup strategies will be central tenet of overall data security strategy
Cybersecurity threats will persist and become increasingly complex in 2023, yet it is nearly impossible to prevent all the ways bad actors can infiltrate networks, exploit unknown vulnerabilities, and target company data and backups to extort money from organizations. I expect to see more IT and security decision-makers adopting cloud-based backup strategies as a central tenet of their overall data security strategy. Cloud copies of data can be quickly replicated and stored in one or more regions/geographies, without the need to purchase or implement any local hardware. Businesses can also utilize the immutable storage capabilities offered by cloud providers – which ensure certain files and objects cannot be tampered with – granting teams assurance that there are no inconsistencies between their active data and backup copies. 

Inflationary pressure will force major public cloud providers to reevaluate pricing and fee structures
Many organizations rely on public cloud service providers to help them “do more with less” and meet organizational requirements to store and analyze growing volumes of data with IT budgets that aren’t necessarily growing at the same rate. However, delivering on this expectation will become increasingly difficult for cloud providers in 2023, as inflationary pressures continue to rise. As a result, there’s a good likelihood that organizations will be met with service list price and fee increases as cloud hyperscalers seek to maintain margins. 2023 may mark the beginning of a new era of expectations when it comes to cloud infrastructure services pricing – and we expect organizations to heavily scrutinize the risk and impact of potential price changes from their cloud storage provider.

Accelerated adoption of IoT technologies will drive demand for high-performance storage
In 2023 and beyond, more IoT and analytics technologies and applications will leverage high-performance cloud storage – equipped to handle the very small objects created by billions of sensors, including fingerprint readers, accelerometers, environmental sensors, medical devices, machine assembly line sensors, and other edge applications. Ultimately, IoT-based industries will rely on high-performance storage to power invaluable, real-world benefits and breakthroughs, such as faster analytic response times, uncovering medical trends more quickly (e.g., accelerating genome sequencing from days to a matter of hours).

Western Digital (Mark Pastor, director platform product management)
SMR HDDs will capture a material portion of the storage market in large cloud and enterprise environments. SMR and UltraSMR technology will further their proliferation in cloud service providers and large enterprises where lowering TCO for large data repositories is key to their success. An important benefit of SMR HDD technologies, including UltraSMR, is that a single tier of storage can deliver HDD-level data access performance at $/TB levels never before realized by traditional CMR HDD technology. While SMR technology has been in practice for several years, it is now delivering compelling TCO benefits that are motivating cloud providers and ISVs to develop and implement the specialized storage software needed to take advantage of this technology. Because of this, SMR and UltraSMR are expected to capture a very material share of storage for large data storage environments.

XenData (Phil Storey, CEO)
Use of object storage for active archives will continue to grow, especially in hybrid cloud infrastructures
We will also see greater use of file system and object storage interfaces to the same active archive. Hybrid cloud storage means different things to different people. For many, combining file and object access to the same storage system allows their organization to use both file-based and native-cloud applications to address the same unstructured content. A combined file/object storage approach provides a smooth path to hybrid cloud storage. And this is not just limited to disk-based object storage, as the increasing availability of file/object storage interfaces for on-premises tape archives allows users to take advantage of the reliability and economies of data tape for active archives.

Zadara (Noam Shendar, VP WW solution architecture)
More pure-storage vendors will either go out of business or be acquired at fire sale prices.

Alternative cloud storage providers will grow market share thanks to promises of weaker lock-in, no egress, and multi-cloud connectivity.

In the enterprise, object storage will continue to displace file storage for large-capacity applications.

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