Storage: Getting down to business
While storage technologies such as de-duplication, virtualisation and solid-state disks (SSDs) tempted the market, arguably one of the biggest influences was the prevailing business sentiment. And as we move into 2009, most observers predict business concerns to stay front of mind.
“I think it’s clear we are going to see a real, tangible move towards cutting costs,” Fujitsu national sales manager products, Julian Badell, said. “While TCO will still be an integral part of any sale, I expect short-term CapEx, upgrade and OpEx costs to be the major focus. The net effect of this will be re-evaluations of incumbent vendors for lower cost alternatives and greater adoption of entry-level storage systems in larger enterprises.”
NetApp director of partner sales, Scott Morris, agreed and claimed traditional storage environments were likely to see a technology shift towards more Flash/SSD integration and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). “A key driver in the storage market in 2009 will be customers demanding better TCO for their investments,” he said. “NetApp believes this will be delivered through improved storage efficiencies driven by technologies such as virtualisation, deduplication and archiving.”
As the global economic downturn slowly but surely spreads to Australia, IT organisations will be looking to contain capital costs while also wanting to use mainstream, low risk technologies, IBRS research and advisory services advisor, Dr Kevin McIsaac, claimed.
“Server virtualisation will continue to be the most important infrastructure trend for the next few years, however, the same cannot be said of storage virtualisation,” he said. “Over the next two years, network-based storage virtualisation will remain a niche, while thin provisioning enjoys rapid adoption and becomes the storage virtualisation technique most talked about.”
For Sun Microsystems storage product manager, Steve Stavridis, the storage market is going through a shift similar to that of the server market in the mid-1990s.“Customer demand for state-of-the-art storage systems with open architectures and easy deployment will dramatically increase,” he said.
Applications: Getting SaaSy
Industry players indicate organisations will look at squeezing the most out of their software assets in 2009 and will only consider investing in applications that provide a clear return on investment, prompting a closer adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS).
The hype around cloud computing and convergence of mobile devices will also begin gaining a more prominent role in the corporate world. Citrix director of technology strategy, Dr Michael Harries, said pushing all applications into the cloud was garnering huge interest, but in reality part of the computing experience still remained grounded.
“The fact that you can have all of your own files on your machine for immediate access is not going to go away anytime soon,” he said.
Harries added people will be using more online interaction in combination with social networking and gaming technologies such as virtual worlds and 3D, which would lead to a far richer collaboration environment.