Five Technologies that Companies Should Prioritize in 2014

One of the more difficult tasks for anyone deeply involved in technology is the ability to see the forest from the trees. Often responsible for supporting the technical components that make up today’s enterprise infrastructures, to step back and recommend which technologies are the right choices for their organization going forward is a more difficult feat. While there is no one right answer that applies to all organizations, five (5) technologies – some new as well as some old technologies that are getting a refresh – merit that organizations prioritize them in the coming months and years.
Already in 2014 DCIG has released three Buyer’s Guides and has many more planned for release in the coming weeks and months. While working on those Guides, DCIG has also engaged with multiple end-users to discuss their experiences with various technologies and how they prioritize technology buying decisions. This combination of sources – a careful examination of included features on products coupled with input from end-users and vendors – is painting a new picture of five specific technologies that companies should examine and prioritize in their purchasing plans going forward.

  • Backup software with a recovery focus. Survey after survey shows that backup remains a big issue in many organizations. However I am not sure who is conducting these surveys or who they are surveying because I now regularly talk to organizations that have backup under control. They have largely solved their ongoing backup issues by using new or updated backup software that is better equipped to use disk as the primary backup target.

It is as they adopt this new backup software and eliminate their backup problems, their focus is turning to recovery. A good example is an individual with whom I spoke this past week. He switched to a new backup software solution that solved his organization’s long standing backup issues while enabling it to lay a foundation for application recovery to the cloud.

  • Converged infrastructures. Converged infrastructure solutions are currently generating a great deal of interest as they eliminate much of the time and effort that organizations have to internally exert to configure, deploy and support a solution. However in conversations I have had over the last few weeks and months, it is large organizations that appear to be the most apt to deploy them.
  • Heterogeneous infrastructures. Heterogeneous infrastructures were all the rage for many years among all size organizations as they got IT vendors to compete on price. But having too many components from too many providers created too much complexity and resulting administrative costs– especially in large organizations.

That said, small and midsized businesses (SMBs) with smaller IT infrastructures still have the luxury of acquiring IT gear from multiple providers without resulting in their environments becoming too complex to manage. Further, SMBs remain price conscious. As such, they are more willing to sacrifice the notion of “proven” end-to-end configurations to get the cutting edge features and/or the lower prices that heterogeneous infrastructures are more apt to offer.

  • Flash primed to displace more HDDs. Those close to the storage industry recognize flash for the revolutionary technology that it is. However I just spoke to an individual this past week that is very technical but who has a web design and programming focus so he and his company were not that familiar with flash. He said that as they have learned more about it, they are re-examining their storage infrastructure and how and where they can best deploy it to accelerate the performance of their applications.

Conversations such as these hint that while flash has already gained acceptance among techies, its broader market adoption and acceptance is yet to come. To date, its cost has been relatively high. However more products offer flash as a cache (such as occurs in hybrid storage arrays) and offer technologies such as deduplication and compression. This will further drive down its effective cost per TB. By way of example, I was talking to one individual yesterday who aleadys offers a flash-based solution for under $300/TB (less than 30 cents/GB.)

  • Tape poised to be become the cloud archive medium of choice. When organizations currently look at how to best utilize the cloud, they typically view it as the ideal place to store their archival data for long term retention. This sets the cloud up as an ideal place in which to deploy tape as preferred medium to store this data largely due to its low operational costs, long media life and infrequent data access.

To accommodate this shift in how organizations are using tape libraries as well as make them more appealing to cloud services providers, tape library providers are adding REST APIs to their tape library interfaces so they appear as a storage target. While most organizations may not know (or care) that the data they send to the cloud is stored to tape, they do care about its cost. By cloud providers storing data on tape, they can drive down these costs to a penny or less per GB per month.

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