Storage alternatives for Enterprise IT beyond SANs and NASes

Pat Gelsinger, President and COO of EMC, just gave an interview to Charles Babcock of Information Week. It can be read here.

Gelsinger’s point of view on public cloud storage not replacing private storage for enterprises is correct, but still biased. He dismisses the fact that enterprises do not need high-end, high-performance SANs for most of their data. Gartner estimates that 80% of the data living today in the world is unstructured and that it grows 50% year-over-year. This astronomical growth is not sustainable with SANs and NASes, and Public Cloud Storage providers like Amazon have paved a way that Enterprise IT is looking at using privately. These platforms are based on Object Stores, using commodity hardware, delivering a Scale-out Storage for their massive and ever-growing unstructured data needs. Enterprise IT will deploy such platforms.

Why? So they can benefit from the same economies of scale public cloud providers benefit from. Elasticity, scalability, hardware agnosticity, multi-tenancy and overall storage efficiency makes IT’s life much easier when it comes to managing PBs of data, without compromising on availability, durability and DR capabilities. But without all the hassle of having to go through migrations at every hardware refresh, managing PBs of backup and silo’d clusters, and the never ending operational nightmare of volume management, disk failures and RAID rebuilds.
Some Object Storage vendors also bring with high-performance and five nine SLAs, delivering everything that enterprise IT is asking for (per Gelsinger’s words himself).

Even more so, they typically use pay-as-you-store pricing model, just like public clouds, which can be very attractive as well as opposed to capacity pricing. And it looks like EMC will not go down that path, according to Gelsinger. And there are TCO models out there showing that private cloud storage is cheaper than legacy storage (and even public cloud storage for that matter), while bringing the same durability, availability and performance than even a high-end SANs. That makes CFOs/CIOs happy because it’s much more cost-efficient than capacity-based price lists.

Scale-Out NAS Overtaking Legacy Storage this decade

The current decade will see private cloud storage platforms displacing legacy storage (SANs and NAS) in the enterprise market for unstructured data. IDC actually forecasts that the global storage market for Scale-Out NAS is going to overcome that of SANs and NASes in the next 10 years (cf graph).

Now let’s be clear. There’s still a market for SANs and NAS for typical use cases like VM storage, relational databases and such applications. But for everything else, all the unstructured data, Scale-out Object Stores are the future.

Even for Enterprise data.

-Marc Villemade

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