Flash mobs and the parting of the clouds: What to expect in 2014

Flash mobs and the parting of the clouds: What to expect in 2014
Steve Manley, managing director, NetApp ANZ

2013 was a game-changing year in IT, especially for the enterprise storage space, causing immense flow-on effects for business operations as a whole. For CIOs, a few key IT trends could be the difference between being behind the 8-ball, and being strongly positioned for business growth in 2014.

At NetApp, we have thought about what to expect this year and the trends that will impact the industry. Looking at the new technologies that took hold in 2012 and 2013, it is clear this year will be one in which their adoption will accelerate, and their place in the enterprise IT landscape will begin to normalise.

Flash demand intensifies, and the battle begins for Flash startups

Astounding innovation in the area of Flash storage took place in 2013, as businesses raced to best position themselves for the fast-paced competitive environment of tomorrow. Flash changes everything, and its unprecedented explosion has already been one of the most disruptive technology trends to face organisations in recent times. As a result, all kinds of businesses are sitting up and taking notice.

At NetApp, we saw customers in many sectors implementing Flash storage in 2013, searching for cloud-integrated and flash-accelerated technology that will let them create an optimal solution for their IT workloads. NetApp has shipped over 60PB of Flash storage to date, testament to the strong flash portfolio we have, and growing demand for this technology across the globe.

2014 will be another year of rapidly increasing Flash adoption and as a result, IT companies with flash offerings will begin to compete more intensely in this space. CIOs looking to invest in Flash are recognising that there are multiple ways for it to be utilised, and in 2014 they will be looking for a broad and complete flash portfolio.

Having several flash options available will be critical to addressing varied needs, and 2014 will be a year in which businesses seek the ability to deploy Flash at the appropriate level of performance, reliability, and scalability for their unique environment.

Hybrid clouds become the dominant vision, and IT departments become service providers

Until now, there has been tension within IT departments about whether and how to make the move to the cloud. In 2014, this tension will finally be resolved, and new questions will arise.

In 2014, most organisations will come with the view that a hybrid cloud model is needed to meet their business demands. CIOs and IT departments will then begin the task of categorising their application portfolio into workloads they need to control entirely, those that only require partial control, and those that are going to be best purchased as SaaS offerings.

This shift will also have ramifications for IT departments, and CIOs must oversee a shift in the role of IT toward acting as brokers across these diverse cloud models. As organisations move toward managing a portfolio of cloud services, everyone within that business must begin to look to internal IT as one more service option.

In 2014 and beyond, IT infrastructure owned by the organisation will begin to be considered as part of its private cloud. As a result, the same expectations for responsiveness, cost-effectiveness and service-level agreements that would apply to external cloud service providers will start to be applied internally.

This strategic realignment will begin this year, and will require IT teams to have new skill sets and competencies. Ultimately, this is a shift for which the CIO will be responsible for, and a transition that will require a systematic approach to oversee.

Tech trends of 2013 continue their momentum

At NetApp, 2014 will mean catering to growing demand for several IT trends that built momentum last year. This is especially the case for clustered storage and converged infrastructures, technologies that are set to become fundamental building blocks of the datacenter.

With many businesses at a fork in the road when it comes to storage, and CIOs searching for new ways to adapt to new workloads and ease the transition to hybrid cloud models, NetApp’s focus will be on the ease of moving application data between clouds.

Our vision for 2014 is to continue to lead the market with flash-accelerated, cloud-integrated storage solutions, placing IT in the best possible position to transform from builders and operators of the datacentre, to their new role as brokers of cloud services.