InformationWeek’s 2013 “State of Storage” report found several key trends among infrastructure managers. At the hardware level, innovation is driving higher performance at lower costs. Analysts noted  growing popularity in hybrid storage configuration with servers, including a mixture of high-capacity SATA drives and high-performance solid-state drives. Seventy percent of survey respondents use SSDs in 10 percent of their servers. Many organizations used SSDs as part of a tiered storage environment and the technology seemed favorable to PCIe adapters from a price-per-performance standpoint.

Researchers also discovered growing popularity among certain technologies, with strong emphasis on software-defined storage and virtualization. The report noted that “software-defined” is quickly becoming as big of a buzzword as cloud computing and warned that this could lead to a trend similar to cloud washing. Despite the hype surrounding the technology, software-defined approaches hold value for cloud storage environments.

“Our take is that storage admins shouldn’t hate the concept just because it’s buzzy,” the report stated. “Like SDN and server virtualization, SDS is all about decoupling storage resources (volumes, disks) from actual hardware, essentially segmenting the storage problem into data and control planes, with the goal of controlling and automating storage services like image creation, data encryption, compression, snapshots, cloning and replication via software,while rolling in a cloud-like element of self provisioning.”

One of the critical advantages to SDS is that it allows companies more freedom over their hardware choices. In an interview with Infostor, Nexenta CEO Evan Powell emphasized the value in avoiding vendor lock-in. He used NexentaStor as an example, noting that the solution can save between 70 and 80 percent when compared with proprietary alternatives.

“It’s enterprise-class storage software that works on any industry-standard hardware,” Powell told the news source. “Essentially, we are doing to the storage industry what Linux and Intel did to the proprietary, cost-prohibitive server market.”

Nexenta is a Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance partner.

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