by Mark Kidd

NetApp Offers IT Predictions for 2015

IT manufacturers and vendors are beginning to make their predictions for 2015, an annual tradition which creates an opportunity to glimpse inside the planning process for some of the storage sector’s big names, albeit with more than a little bit of marketing and self-promotion in the mix as well. As part of this end-of-year rite, NetApp recently offered a series of predictions from Jay Kidd, the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

For 2015, NetApp has its eyes on the integrated telemetry components which are increasingly common in industrial equipment, medical and health devices, and mobile payment systems. If these sensors and other networked components continue to increase their footprint throughout the coming year, enterprise technology concerns like NetApp have a lot to gain by being positioned to provide the processing and storage infrastructure necessary to produce timely and meaningful analytics from this raw data.

In terms of flash storage media, NetApp is betting on continued gains for flash in the datacenter but the company expects that all-flash datacenters are at least five years off. According to Kidd, NetApp’s projections indicate that the least expensive enterprise SSDs will remain at ten times the cost of the least expensive SATA disks through the end of the decade.

On the other hand, the company expects software-defined storage paradigms to find their way into more and more corporate IT environments in order to support data fabrics that span on premise and public clouds. NetApp predicts that their clients will increasingly expect to be able to work with multiple cloud providers, both to avoid lock-in and to provide leverage in negotiations with service providers. In this climate, Kidd predicts that software-as-a-service vendors without data extraction capabilities will suffer a competitive disadvantage. On the software end, this trend will conversely mean that software vendors with offerings that can be deployed both on premise and to a range of cloud platforms will have the upper hand.

In 2015, NetApp is also betting that more enterprises will transition to hyper-converged infrastructure products with direct-attached storage over traditional data center compute with blades or boxes in racks. Kidd argues that hyper-converged infrastructure such as VMware’s EVO that leverage direct-attached storage will appeal to administrators looking to make the unit of compute more flexible and resilient. According to NetApp, this trend will coincide with the continued maturity of solid state enterprise storage, broader adoption of remote direct memory access (RDMA) network protocols, and new interconnects for low-latency fabrics that will be necessary to allow hyper-converged infrastructure compute resources behave like a single rack-scale system.

NetApp CTO Jay Kidd's 2015 Predictions

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