When we think about the requirements of the modern data center, a large number of variables come to mind: growing capacities, demand for ever-increasing speed of storage, networking and compute, the need for versatility, reliability, and Quality of Service.
While all of these ring true, there is one thing that is even more pressing than meeting these demands – economics. Data center cost ratio is a driving force for many of today’s new IT technologies and it’s the impetus for key trends shaping the modern data center.
1. The Need to Do More for Less
With overall storage capacity expected to grow to 40,000 Exabytes by 2020, and roughly doubling every two years, we can clearly see why the industry not only needs more storage capacity but also more efficient storage technologies, and higher performing solutions to handle more data than ever before.
While capacity grows, IT budgets keep on shrinking. So the modern data center is under constant pressure to deliver more capacity, more speed, and better results at continuing lower costs.
2. Open Source Takes Center Stage
You might assume the hardware in your racks is what devours most of your budget dollars, but a large chunk of the data center expense sheet goes to software licensing. With many major software vendors moving to models of charging per CPU core, versus per processor, saving on licensing costs is evolving to a key economic consideration.
This is one reason why open source software is gaining major traction in the enterprise. But you’d be mistaken to think it’s the only one. Open source is also gaining massive adoption due to the power of collaboration, enabling the industry to take advantage of existing code to develop better products, faster. More and more commercial companies, like SanDisk®, are contributing to open source and the trend is that community and company will go hand in hand.
Another great tool to help scale more efficiently is disaggregation. Compute and storage disaggregation finally enables optimal resource utilization and allows for more CPU usage required for object storage device with small block workloads, as well as higher bandwidth provisioning as required for large object workloads.
Unlike monolithic storage arrays, disaggregation enables organizations to scale either compute or storage independently, seamlessly, and with ease. You can scale as you grow, steering clear of sprawl and overspend.
Software-Defined Storage (SDS) technology is often deployed using standardized, off-the-shelf hardware that through a data plane delivers all the features of robust storage arrays at new cost efficiencies. The advantages of software-defined storage go far beyond economics as it provides organizations with a new level of flexibility. Components can be tuned to fit particular needs; resiliency and features are delivered through software rather than hardware; and the system can be far more easily maintained and upgraded through software enhancements.
Flash has disrupted the data center and we’re only at the beginning of the spectacular changes it brings. Flash is enabling new workloads, new architectures, and infinite possibilities.
As we look at flash economics, data centers are moving away from the HDD traditional practice of calculating the dollar per gigabyte, but rather the cost of the solution – racks, enclosures, cooling, electricity, maintenance, and value (ROI). Everyone knows – consolidation is your friend. Flash can deliver such superior performance that it can massively cut down the hardware requirements, dramatically reducing both acquisition and operational costs. Even hyper-converged solutions such as VMware’s Virtual SAN, are seeing far better value and lower costs when deployed in all-flash versus hybrid configurations. See the latest report from ESG.
Disrupting the Status Quo
These trends are affecting everyone from small businesses to large cloud providers and the shift in the industry is well underway. Traditional storage array sales continue to fall as demand for server-based storage and hyperscale infrastructure is strongly increasing.
When we designed our InfiniFlash all-flash systems, we built upon these trends: the hyperscale experience of disaggregation, open software stacks, software-defined all-flash storage, and our flash expertise and fab integration. We also saw disaggregation as a means to partner with the industry’s top compute, networking, software, and services vendors to deliver custom, best-in-class solutions enabled by a rich, integrated ecosystem.
The result? A storage system that delivers unprecedented scale and breakthrough economics:
- Scale-out, high density (10x less floor space)
- Low operating costs (low power, low cooling)
- Simplicity (self-serve, on-demand provisioning, and simplified administration)
- On-demand, consistent (QoS), with breakthrough performance
- Lower costs through fab economics and new flash form factor
- Single point, 24/7 global support and installation services for entire system stack
As the challenges for data centers grow, so do the opportunities and solutions that enable IT to deliver new services, extract data insights, and drive business success. To future-proof your data center follow the trends that point to a future that’s open, software-defined, and flash-enabled. It’s redefining data center economics and opening possibilities never before thought possible.
If you want to learn more, hear from our partners about how flash integrated solutions transform data centers – here.
Ravi has 17+ yrs of broad-based tech expertise and served as SanDisk's (acquired by Western Digital) VP & GM, Systems and Software Solutions