“We still have a big challenge on our hands when it comes to the future of data storage technology.”
With a technology that changes as quickly as data storage, it may seem that big challenges would simply be a constant as vendors and IT managers alike struggle to keep abreast of developments, but a statement like that one from Mike Matchett, senior analyst at the Taneja Group, is not too far off the mark.
Interestingly, however, Matchett’s comments are more about the broad-based impact of data storage developments on consumer and vendor alike, and not so much about any specific technological challenge.
As Matchett sees those developments, he suggests “storage soon may be less about picking out specific arrays with new features every three to five years and more about assembling the most cost-efficient, scalable, globally distributed set of storage services on a daily basis. And we'll have to do all that while delivering interactive performance, instant access to big data sets and on-demand capacity, as well as maintaining full corporate governance, data protection and security.”
On a practical level, Matchett notes that “the collective storage footprint in general is growing. With data volumes exploding from globalized applications, web-scale databases, big data analytics, online archiving and that little internet of things opportunity, all those new bits will have to go somewhere.
“All this new data simply can't go into cheap and deep cold cloud storage. If data is worth having, as much business value as possible must be wrung out of it. And if it's important data, it has to be governed, protected, secured and ultimately actively managed. Even if storage gets molded into converged, hyper-converged or cloud infrastructure, much of it still holds important corporate data.”
Of course, while it’s incumbent upon health IT managers to have their eye on the more distant future of data storage, an increasing number of them are turning to flash storage for their immediate needs as the flash capabilities keep evolving to keep up with rapidly growing storehouses of health data.
Even Matchett recognizes the ongoing importance of effective and efficient data storage.
“Maybe the job won't even be called storage administrator in a few years, but rather something like chief data enabler,” he teases. But “the point is this is really just a turn of the big wheel of storage evolution. No matter what you call it, storage matters now more than ever. And tomorrow, it will matter even more.”