How data will payoff in 2015

By Mike Cordano, President at HGST, a Western Digital Company

Data: It’s the currency of the new economy. It has never been more important, and there’s never been so much of it.

Fueled by the growing number of applications, devices and data types – not to mention the Internet of Things (IoT) – the amount of data being created and replicated is doubling every two years. Additionally, in a survey commissioned by HGST earlier this year, 86% of CIOs and IT decision makers surveyed believe that all data generated has value if the organization is able to store, access and analyze it optimally.

Indian organizations realize that the value of data is shifting the competitive landscape, forcing businesses to re-architect and re-imagine their data centers to keep pace with new market dynamics. As per NASSCOM, the Big Data market in India will grow at 83% annually to reach US$1 billion by 2015. Businesses that can harness the power of data,  see it as an opportunity and those that decide to act on it, are positioned to win in the coming year. Industries such as BFSI, telecom, retail, healthcare, public sector and manufacturing are some of the sectors which are expected to benefit immensely by leveraging Big Data.

This volume, velocity, longevity and value of data is putting storage at the heart of the data center. Having the right storage strategy is key to optimizing infrastructures and realizing the full power of data.

Here are five trends that I see coming for the storage solutions industry in 2015:

1. Air is Dead; Helium HDDs Will Rule the Data Center in 2015
Helium-filled hard drives provide the highest capacity per drive with more stable and reliable recording technologies than what is possible with air-filled drives.  The lower power consumption of Helium-filled drives also result in the highest enclosure and rack densities in the industry.  Overall, these combined benefits deliver the lowest TCO per terabyte possible.  Recognizing these clear advantages, I see the adoption and deployment of Helium-filled drives will become the leading technology for scale-out applications such as active archive and cloud storage.

2. Data Access Infrastructure Will be Measured by the “Six-Second Rule”
Six seconds will become the new standard for data access amongst infrastructure architects. As articulated in Brian Shackel’s Acceptability Paradigm, six seconds will become the upper limits of what is acceptable for data access. Because of this Six-Second Rule, data center architects will no longer be able to classify aging “cold” data as “store once, hopefully read never,” and place this data on tape storage.

Instead, businesses need to recognize that they can only harness the power of data if they have near instant access to it to extract the value. This means data center architects will need to understand an emerging category of disk-based active archive systems, which will enable data to be accessed in under the six seconds it will take before users lose interest in that data.

3. All-Flash is Not a Universal Fix; Architects Will Build for Speed AND Capacity This Year
Going forward, data center storage solutions will be optimized beyond just device characteristics and all architects will need to understand two unique paths on how they design an entire data center deployment. Performance-centric applications will employ “high performance” architectures, leveraging new NVMe-over-fabric standards with the efficiencies of a shared SAN.

On the other hand, capacity-centric applications will employ a completely different approach that focuses on “high capacity,” leveraging active archive and object storage solutions to achieve new levels of scalability, efficiency and cost effectiveness. This is particularly exciting, as this shift in architecture design will launch a virtuous cycle where vertical innovation drives success for customers across the board.

4. The Cloud Will Become a Mandatory “Third Leg” for Data Centers
Cloud strategies are creating a third platform that cooperates with and complements these high-performance and high-capacity architectures in the data center. It is well established that cloud architecture is here to stay, and many are already using public, private or a hybrid system architectures. However, an important distinction moving forward will be to understand how the cloud will add to the value of data, data longevity, data activity and overall architectural optimization. Data centers that understand the economy of data within their business will be the ones that best utilize scalable cloud architectures and can fully extract the value of their operational data.

5. Infrastructure Budgets Will Remain Flat, but Expectations for Data Will Double in 2015
Over the next decade, digital information in India will grow from 40,000 petabytes of data to 2.3 million petabytes, twice as fast as the worldwide rate. As per a recent Job Outlook Survey 2015 by TimesJobs, industry experts named 2015 as the year of Big Data professionals.  However, despite being rated as the top profession of 2015, Big Data talent is also the hardest to find among technical skills.

Indian data center infrastructure market, comprising of server, storage and networking equipment, will see a 5.4 % increase to US$2.03 billion in 2015. This means the amount of data that needs to be managed by each IT professional working today will increase, and data growth will increase dramatically this year. This points to the fact that data center infrastructure not only needs to be scalable, but also new levels of simplicity and ease of management will be essential for success.

2015 will be an important time for data centers and data center managers, but want does that mean for you? Companies are going to compete based on the insights they pull from their data, so it’s important that they’re equipped with the latest in terms of storage, and new data center technologies and architectures. This means the standard for efficiency, performance and scalability will be under close scrutiny in 2015 and businesses that want to succeed will need to extract greater value from the data they own.

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