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Array with it: What's next for enterprise storage?

Great time to be a customer, but what about the vendors?

Storagebod So I was sitting in my hotel room on day 2 of HPE Discover* thinking about some of the discussions that happened on the previous days/evenings. It seems that even vendors are now coming round to the idea that enterprise storage is pretty much dead – at least in its current form.

What do we mean by dead? Well, we don’t mean that it is going away any time soon; like the mainframe, it’ll continue to haunt the data centres of the future.

However, there is little to no growth opportunity for the traditional enterprise storage array; year on year, we probably won’t see a decline in the amount of storage shipped in this form but its proportion of the total shipped storage will decline massively.

In fact, the vendors have only themselves to blame: modern enterprise arrays are that much more efficient – thin provisioning, compression and data reduction technologies such as deduplication are having such an impact that to maintain revenues the vendors are having to ship twice as much storage.

It’s a great time to be a customer of enterprise storage; the price will continue to fall and it is becoming so simple that swapping one vendor for another is no longer a massive deal.

Our continued push for simplified interfaces and click-driven provisioning is beginning to drive procurement behaviours that mean that it is no longer a massive RFx process to change vendors; pence per gigabyte or IOP is the only measure of importance.

And it’s a scary time for many vendors who don’t have a story to tell about what comes next and how they mitigate for this change in market. Enterprise storage has been a cash-cow, but massive margins and annual increases in revenues are now pretty much in decline.

So, HPE: what comes next in your world, because wandering round Discover, I can see an awful lot of servers filled with disks but I don’t see the next storage solution.

* Disclosure: HP have paid for my accommodation and entrance to the event but I’m under no obligation to write anything.

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