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Data storage forecast for 2022

Paul Speciale

Paul Speciale

CMO at Scality
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As 2022 begins, it is time to reflect on what the coming year holds for the data storage industry.

There is one thing that will not change: the dramatic growth of data. Almost every organisation across every sector must have a defined strategy for grappling with this explosion of data. So what does the storage industry have in store as we move into 2022?

Enterprise and midrange storage products will include AI/MLops as standard

Automation and intelligence can meet the challenges of exponential data growth and IT skills shortages to help IT managers and operations address a range of tasks including basic systems and alert monitoring, predictive analytics and capacity planning, and sophisticated data workflow management. Throughout 2022 and beyond, we foresee AI/MLOps will be integrated into large-scale data storage offerings to address the skills shortage and help administrators offload and automate processes. It can also help identify and reduce waste as well as increase overall storage management efficiency.

On-premises data centres are here to stay

The decentralisation of IT services, applications and data has been an ongoing trend throughout the past ten years. We predict that alongside continued cloud adoption, organisations will maintain their investments in corporate on-premises data centre infrastructure for the foreseeable future for reasons of control, performance, and cost-efficiency.

To optimise multi-data centre, multi-cloud application and data management solutions, we will see a new level of sophisticated IT management capabilities. The consensus among most enterprises today is that a smart, balanced approach to applications and infrastructure across enterprise (private) data centres and public cloud services results in the most optimal delivery of services, agility, fast time-to-market, and cost efficiencies.

Sophisticated cyber protection will be table stakes for storage solutions

Not only are ransomware attacks increasing in number, but they are becoming bigger and more expensive. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates ransomware attacks will cost approximately $265 billion annually by 2031, with a new attack every two seconds. This means commercial storage solutions will need to integrate more sophisticated tools for earlier detection, prevention and — ultimately — recovery from attacks that delete, modify, or encrypt stored data.

Early detection capabilities in storage solutions will come in the form of new AI/ML-based techniques that analyse anomalous access patterns, while recovery solutions will involve traditional snapshot technologies, more granular versioning capabilities and data immutability.

Digital sovereignty concerns will drive growth of regional service providers

Global organisations are increasingly concerned about their dependence on technology providers and cloud services located outside of their geographies. Data sovereignty regulations, such as the Data Governance Act in Europe, highlight the power of data and its role as the emerging currency for digital transformation. IT teams must keep track of where their data is located amidst the growth of the worldwide cloud players, as well as ensure they comply with local data sovereignty regulations.

Outsourcing and delegating IT services to global cloud service providers for the sake of economics, agility and flexibility does not excuse them from compliance regulations. And ignoring data sovereignty issues is simply not an option. We therefore predict this will usher in an industry of local and regional service providers that deliver sovereign cloud services to captive markets by ensuring organisations’ data stays within specified borders.

The rollout of 5G networks will enable increasing data capture and mobility at the edge

Enterprises are increasingly deploying applications at the edge, in retail locations, airports, sports stadiums and connected/smart vehicles, for example. It is probable many of these locations will develop into mini-cloud data centres that require full IT stack services (including servers, high-speed connectivity and local data storage) to deliver these rich new services.

Concerns around transferring petabytes of data across slower network links to a central data centre for processing follow the “data gravity” analogy – the idea that data has “weight” that must be considered before it is moved to another location.

While there’s truth in this, we predict the new generation of high-speed 5G network connectivity will have a direct influence on the emergence of data-rich applications deployed on the edge. By increasing bandwidth to and from the edge, the rollout of 5G will minimise the apprehensions around data gravity and further boost the generation and consumption of data on the edge.

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