Over the last 10 years, data has evolved from a business output and liability to a catalyst for innovation as startups like Uber, Amazon and Netflix attacked mature players across industries, leveraging their data as a powerful differentiator. Ultimately this change in the paradigm of data has accelerated the need for storage, the analysis, and the dynamics of the industry forever. 

Let’s take a deep dive into how storage has transformed over the past decade.

All-flash storage is mainstream 

Spinning magnetic disks were the defacto standard for decades. As the internet expanded, business systems digitized and new applications emerged, bringing magnetic disk to its knees in reliability, performance and in some cases, raw economics. Mainstream adoption of flash has also been validated by storage M&A activity and traditional vendors retrofitting legacy systems.  

Rise of high performance “unstructured” file and object storage 

Traditionally, file storage equated to “file shares” and object storage/content-addressable storage equated to “archive.” In the last 10 years, file storage has emerged as a critical platform for both log and streaming analytics. Object storage, with a new powerful protocol (S3) developed and mainstreamed by AWS, has been embraced by developers worldwide for its simplicity and ability to handle unstructured and semi-structured content with ease. 

Enterprises recognize the importance of hybrid and multi-cloud in the IT ecosystem 

In the last decade, the importance of hybrid and multi-cloud has been cemented. Most enterprises have unlocked new hybrid use cases where applications can migrate seamlessly between private and public clouds. In addition, application developers needed to develop a single storage API to manage their data, allowing them to develop applications in their private or public cloud, and run them anywhere. 

Widespread adoption of containers and cloud-native services 

Organizations increased their appetite and desire to leverage data as a catalyst for growth and as a result, application development has accelerated. Simply put, more applications generated more interactions which in turn generated more valuable insights. To support this boom in agile development, frameworks replaced traditional waterfall approaches, leading to the rise of Microservices and DevOps. With this paradigm change came a new lightweight “container” abstraction layer, led by Docker and built off of the decade-old concept of LXC in Linux.  

“As-a-service” became a defacto standard for ALL infrastructure 

As public cloud adoption grew, it delivered agility and flexible consumption that have been applauded by the marketplace. Enterprises are now looking for all of their IT infrastructure and services to be delivered as a utility and “as-a-service”, in many cases supplanting complex leasing structures. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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