Recently Scott Lowe shared that he could identify the level of my workload based on the duration between my blog posts. I found his comment was quite insightful as things have been rather busy of late. Inside of NetApp we’re wrapping up engineering efforts for the release of something truly revolutionary. As you’d expect this has all of us working long hours. Outside of NetApp I’ve relocated from North Carolina to California and the efforts to get unpacked and settled has kept me rather busy.
Suffice to say I’m a bit behind and after a quick glance at the calendar I’ve decided that today is the last day I have to share with you my thoughts around what I expect to transpire in 2012 with storage technologies and their use and integration in server virtualization infrastructures and cloud computing solutions. Honestly, it is the nearly last day of February and 1/6th of the year has already passed, so it’s now or never…
One of the things I learned from reviewing my previous predictions was a tendency to expect adoption to occur sooner than what was reasonable. A number of predictions required more than one year to become apparent and for a few of these I want to ‘double down’ as I expect them to become a reality in 2012.
The Double Down List
- In 2012 the use of NAS for storage connectivity with server virtualization will continue to gain market share, application support, and points of integration. This year I expect industry analysts to begin forecasting NAS to become the dominant form of storage connectivity to deploy with server virtualization.
- I expect 2012 to be a year of expanded points of integration between software applications and the hardware platforms they run on. VMware has led the market in increasing the scalability of their technologies with the vStorage API program to offload software-based functions to the hardware layer. The benefits provided by this model are significant and will drive other software vendors to follow suit.
- While advanced storage caching technologies were announced by many in 2011, 2012 should be the year where we see a number of these new technologies get delivered to the market. Admittedly we’ve already had some announcements this year; however, expect this market will expand as the year progresses.
Admittedly, the double down list wasn’t that creative on my part, but as I had earlier stated these were predictions that partially materialized last year and I believe will continue this year.
What I Expect We Will See in 2012
Here’s a number of thoughts around what me might see over the course of the next 10 months…
- Software based virtual storage profiles will charter a new era of storage platform management and data access. Storage admins will begin to understand the value and advantages of configuring data access with these software based array profiles over the traditional means of connecting to physical addresses and/or physical gateway devices. Virtual storage profiles make storage pools gain hardware independence and mobility on par with that of a Virtual Machine on a hypervisor. It’s a match made in heaven for deployments of vSphere, Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer, etc.
- Partition Misalignment within Virtual Machines has been an issue that has plagued customers and vendors for far too long. In 2012 I expect we will see new and innovated capabilities hit the market that will correct this issue in a non-disruptive manner.
- Storage vendors will begin delivering unique capabilities from standardized points of integration provided by software vendors. Today integration frameworks like VAAI are measured in binary terms of ‘supported’ or ‘not supported’. Soon I expect we will see technical differentiation within delivering functionality within these frameworks.
- Customers will increasingly demand standardization within their datacenters, both in terms of the technologies powering them as well as their operational processes. Infrastructure standardization is key to greater consistency and cost reductions in the delivery of IT services. Public cloud providers understand standardization rather well and those with private cloud initiatives aren’t that far behind.
- The release of Microsoft Windows 8 and Hyper-v 3 will be technically capable to present customers with an alternative to VMware and the vSphere platform. I think 2012 will close with lots of interest around the capabilities of Microsoft’s virtualization platform and to see VMware execute in the face of market competition. I wish both the best.
- Big Data is a big deal but today it is still a niche solution. In 2012 we should begin to see those leading the adoption of Big Data to begin to address Big Data at scale. I expect the scaling challenge to result in awareness around the need for data management models, which will become critical in making Big Data solutions widely adopted technology by 2016.
- Cloud-based file sharing technologies like DropBox will begin to be deployed in place of traditional home directory and NAS file services within the enterprise. These technologies simplifies the delivery of file services for traditional desktop and mobile users. In my opinion this change is inevitable.
Wrapping Up This Post
Well that’s all I have for 2012. I hope you found the content in this post entertaining if not interesting. With any luck some will share their support, criticism, and predictions in the comments section. Let’s revisit this post and the comments in January to rate the accuracy of these predictions.
Until then, cheers!