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Predictions of Storage Vendors for 2023


Fujifilm Recording Media, USA Inc. (Rich Gadomski, tape evangelist)

Sustainability to take center stage in storage
All of the major trade show conferences throughout 2022 were talking about the need for sustainability in IT operations. From Data Center World, to Flash Memory Summit, to the Open Compute Summit and finally SuperComputing. None more emphatically than cutting edge Open Compute which added sustainability as its fifth tenet. Given the undeniable impacts of climate change and energy crisis brought on by geo-political tensions and conflicts, carbon reduction and energy conservation will continue to trickle down to data storage strategies. This is where active archive solutions solve many of the pressing data storage challenges including accessibility to the sheer volume and growth of valuable long term data, tightening IT budgets, cybersecurity concerns and now vitally important sustainability goals. Simply incorporating modern automated tape systems in an active archive environment can reduce energy consumption by 87% and reduce CO² by 97% compared to equivalent HDD capacity.

IBM (Kiyoshi Urabe, business line executive data retention infrastructures product manager)

Fiscal and ESG accountability will transform data center infrastructures and processes.
Hyperscale and managed service providers will continue to mature in 2023, focusing on financial responsibility, thus forcing more emphasis on expense reduction and return on investment. ESG is also forcing these same companies to look hard at creating metrics that reflect lowering the contribution of CO² prior to applying offsets. The influence of ESG to global companies will result in higher financial impacts to the companies and their customers. This shift in accountability and focus will drive transformations in the data centers. Energy, regardless of the manner that it is produced, is a valuable commodity. Reducing energy consumption improves the fiscal bottom line and results in a lower CO² contribution from infrastructure. Data center leaders will be evaluating technology based on cost and ESG impact. This will drive processes to move data to lower energy consumption models, models like moving data directly from operational flash to tape. Tape’s low cost of acquisition, low TCO, and sustainable design make it an ideal candidate in these infrastructures. Growth in tape hardware and media capacity shipments is expected to continue in 2023.

Overland-Tandberg (Eric L. Kelly, chairman and CEO)

Unstructured data management continues to be data storage game changer
For many companies, unstructured data “stuck” in traditional storage environments represents un-tapped potential that’s difficult to access or analyze. The complexity of hybrid cloud and multi cloud environments have made it challenging for IT decision makers to minimize data silos and translate unstructured data into intelligent actionable information.

Data management based on an automatic storage tiering approach allows IT teams to avoid silos and dynamically prioritize and distribute data across existing and legacy storage tiers to achieve greater flexibility, access and speed. Incorporating tape automation as secondary or tertiary storage, frees up more expensive primary storage for real-time data transactions, with the added benefit of ensuring greater compliance and security in case of disaster. Tape’s proven reliability, energy efficiency and low TCO make it both a smart and green choice for long-term data storage and active archiving. These are decision-making parameters that have become more important than ever today.

PoINT Software & Systems (Thomas Thalmann, CEO)

Active Archive software will gain importance to solve the storage problems associated with data growth. Storing and archiving the increasing volumes of data will continue to be one of the priority problems for many companies. To optimize storage infrastructure and reduce hardware costs, intelligent data management software solutions that identify and transparently move cold and inactive data from expensive primary storage systems to secondary active archive storage are becoming increasingly interesting. In the archive and secondary storage sector, advanced software-defined object storage will be available that integrates tape as a storage class for infrequently used data and uses intelligent tiering mechanisms to select the optimal storage location for the data respectively.

QStar Technologies (Dave Thomson, SVP sales and marketing)

In 2023, we will see more organizations using “Archive from the Edge” technology, to ensure all prized company data is protected from ransomware attacks. Archive from the Edge is now significantly easier to achieve as all archive class storage. Private and public cloud plus tape libraries, can easily be accessed using S3 compatible protocols. Free and low-cost tools such as S3 Browser and S3-based data movers can be used to copy, move or migrate important data across the Internet, which in the past required more complex VPN access, creating an even more flexible and secure active archive environment – for on-prem and edge content. For larger edge capacities, tape media can be physically shipped and incorporated into on-prem archive environments.

Quantum (Tim Sherbak, product manager)

Future is in the past: let’s talk tape
The use of tape for data retention will dramatically increase, reversing a decade-long downward trend. Organizations will re-invest in tape-based strategies to strengthen cybersecurity, reduce storage costs, and minimize energy expenditures. With data growing exponentially and the continued threat of cybercrime, 2023 will be the year of the return to tape. Rising power and cooling costs, and an increased ESG focus (environment, social, and corporate governance), will push enterprises away from the expense of spinning disk drives for long-term archiving. Tape continues its role as the most reliable, sustainable, secure, and low-cost storage media.

To cloud and back again
Enterprises will look to repatriate data from the public cloud to reduce their operating costs. Enterprises know they can reduce their costs if they can get their data back on-prem, particularly for data that need to be retained for long periods of time for compliance reasons. Digital data sources, including imagery and video, continue to grow exponentially, forcing organizations to confront the impracticality of relying on the public cloud for all of their data management and storage. Cost constraints, access control, data sovereignty, and longer-term retention of massive amounts of data will influence large enterprises to consider building their own low-cost storage cloud internally for access and use across the entire organization.

NVMe leads (new datacenter) way
CTOs and CIOs have been aware of their power, cooling and data center usage – and the resulting expenses (the ‘E’ in those ESG reports). Simultaneously, they’ve been trying to cope with skyrocketing user demand while demonstrating less complexity, reduction in footprint, and fewer systems. As NVMe drives become widely available in higher capacities and lower costs, the C-suite reaps huge savings in data center footprint (up to 80%) and energy budgets (up to 70%), but also dramatically reduces the burden of administration and management by replacing multiple storage types with a single, hot NVMe-flash tier which archives to their choice of private or public cloud.

Retrospect (Brian Dunagan, VP engineering)

Data management professionals will no longer tolerate vendor lock-in
For instance, data mobility solutions will need to be cloud-enabled and support data migration, data replication and data synchronization across mixed environments including disk, tape and cloud. This will enable the elimination of data silos, and the opportunity to maximize ROI. We will likewise see an uptick in solutions that support vendor-agnostic file replication and synchronization, are easily deployed and managed on non-proprietary servers and can transfer millions of files simultaneously – protecting data in transit to/from the cloud with SSL encryption.

SMBs will be more likely to get caught in 2023’s ransomware crosshairs
Ransomware will continue to be a massive and growing global threat, to enterprise targets and to smaller SMBs as well. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that today’s ransomware enables bad actors to more easily and affordably cast a wide net – especially with ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) becoming increasingly prevalent, looking for any possible weakness in defense. The second is that SMBs usually don’t have the technology or manpower budget as their enterprise counterparts to build and maintain the multiple levels of security that are necessary to keep today’s ransomware out, to know when it has gotten in, and/or to recover data and operations after a successful attack without having to pay the ransom.

While strong security defense is indispensable, we will see that next year security leaders will ensure additional measures are taken
The next step will be enabling the ability to detect anomalies as early as possible in order to remediate affected resources. Large enterprises, SMBs and individuals alike will need a backup target that allows them to lock backups for a designated time period. Many of the major cloud providers now support object locking, also referred to as WORM storage or immutable storage. Users will leverage the ability to mark objects as locked for a designated period of time, and in doing so prevent them from being deleted or altered by any user – internal or external – accidentally or with malicious intent.

XenData (Phil Storey, CEO)

Use of object storage for active archives will continue to grow, especially in hybrid cloud infrastructures
We will also see greater use of file system and object storage interfaces to the same active archive. Hybrid cloud storage means different things to different people. For many, combining file and object access to the same storage system allows their organization to use both file-based and native-cloud applications to address the same unstructured content. A combined file/object storage approach provides a smooth path to hybrid cloud storage. And this is not just limited to disk-based object storage, as the increasing availability of file/object storage interfaces for on-premises tape archives allows users to take advantage of the reliability and economies of data tape for active archives.

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