2019 Predictions: What's Next for Software Defined Storage?
As 2019 approaches, developers and enterprises should be considering how cloud storage security, containment, and deployment could and should change.
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As we head into the heart of predictions season, the tech prophets are working overtime. There are so many streams of emerging technology — some of them converging into rapids — that we all need to arm ourselves with some foresight and guidance for navigating our way through the rush of data and possibilities.
The first stop on the journey is cloud strategy, namely standardization of orchestration and commoditization of cloud resources. As your digital business grows in scale and complexity, automated capabilities will be critical to maintaining control and visibility. In 2019, you should be figuring out how to optimize savings and efficiency by leveraging the commoditization of hardware, managed services, security solutions, and cloud platforms — but this will only work if you have a robust, overarching orchestration solution in place.
As more on-premise infrastructure moves to the private and public cloud, optimizing the management of hybrid cloud deployments has quickly become an imperative. Making these hybrid environments more predictable and seamless requires consolidating two different architectures.
When it comes to modernizing architecture and storage, here's where the focus will be in 2019.
Standardize Public and Hybrid Cloud Migration, Deployment, and Workflows
Deployments to public cloud infrastructure will accelerate over the next year, adding to a pressing need to make migrations more efficient and reliable. This includes the ability to run existing distributed applications on the public cloud without changing the application or associated workflow. Applications should have the same functionality in the public cloud, and look the same. The user shouldn't have to relearn anything or care what underlying infrastructure is being used. Learning new interfaces, clicking more buttons, or changing the order of a workflow can be significantly disruptive to productivity and may lead to low adoption rates, or even decreased levels of job satisfaction.
In other words, enterprise hybrid clouds need standardized deployments and application workflows. For example, cloud storage should be deployed so that it looks like local storage and users can't tell the difference. Enabling this requires a layer of abstraction. Compute, networking, and storage need to work seamlessly together in hybrid deployments — watch for and contribute to software-defined storage standards development in 2019.
As for multi-cloud, it will be waiting in the wings. And by multi-cloud (as opposed to the hybrid cloud), I am referring to the practice of running distributed applications across multiple public cloud infrastructure providers with no on-premise component. Justifiable use cases for this scenario are still being explored — the need to meet specific geography-delineated regulatory requirements presents one such case. It's a hot-button topic, for sure, but it's not quite there. In 2019, there will be more talk, and more work around figuring out a meaningful, effective way of deploying and orchestrating it. It's next in line after the industry optimizes hybrid cloud environments.
Now That Containers Are Production Ready, Think About Storage
Containers are finally becoming production ready. As the next big thing in virtualization and resource utilization, they are now being used for mission-critical applications. We'll see a major increase in production deployment containers in 2019, which raise the profile of associated challenges like storage. Containers require persistent storage in order to succeed in mainstream use cases.
Most current storage solutions cater to virtualization vendor platforms (VMware, etc.) but aren't a great fit for container technology. In 2019, the problem to solve for is finding one storage solution to support these completely independent virtualization mechanisms so that they can co-exist efficiently. From the application point of view, they are different mechanisms, but that shouldn't matter when it comes to storage. Making progress on this aspect of container deployment will bring much-needed simplification to this infrastructure option.
Get Your Data Governance and Security Ready for GDPR and Beyond
The European Union's sweeping consumer data privacy legislation went into effect in May 2018 and started an important dialogue around the world. Combined with major breaches and sophisticated identity and data manipulation schemes at Facebook, Google, Twitter, and many other major digital players, the global focus on data privacy, security, and integrity are sure to catalyze further regulations. Additional countries and states are already considering tougher privacy mandates and penalties. As European regulators start levying GDPR penalties, companies are finally implementing stricter data protection guidelines.
Storage providers will need to have the right answers about data security guarantees and the ability to offer support for best practices. The guarantees include: if the data be accessed, stolen, or leaked, no one will be able to use it or make sense of it; data integrity must be preserved without fail; and data must abide by country-specific data location restrictions. Certain kinds of data cannot be transported across geographical boundaries (for example, Chinese Internet regulations), so all public cloud providers and cloud-like services will have to guarantee location.
Software-Defined Storage Is the Foundation for Trust, Growth, and Innovation
Storage designed with distributed systems in mind makes it possible to quickly provision application specific, policy-based data services. Trust (or lack of it) is becoming a major factor in enterprise digital transformation and brand reputation management. In 2019, infrastructure teams and leadership should carefully consider the significant role storage plays in maintaining public trust and the integrity of data systems used in commercial, industrial, and social settings.
Every enterprise has its own IT team, and each team has a unique collection of challenges. These days, making sure distributed applications and business processes run as smoothly as possible is job number one. With modern cloud strategies and software-defined storage solutions in place, these teams can focus on optimizing applications and addressing emerging challenges — there will be plenty of those in the year ahead.
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