Storage Wars: Enterprise Edition

IT security solutions

It’s pretty safe to say that our formerly paper-based society is now inarguably digital. Even institutions like healthcare, which were reluctant to evolve at first, are now digitizing.

And while this means we’re not scrounging for space in overstuffed file cabinets anymore, all this extra data is still causing storage issues. In enterprises, spending on storage is higher than on any other infrastructure and things like duplication, redundancy and poor file management eat away at valuable storage resources.  

Storage Demand

According to Technavio analysts, a lack of proper storage planning is also a big issue for enterprises. For example, when a company buys a 4 TB storage plan for the next two years, it’s pretty likely that they’ll have used almost 2.2 TB within the first year. It has been found that most SMEs use only 80% of their storage effectively before moving to the next storage system, but in some cases this figure is as low as 40%.

Enterprise NAS as a Solution

This is where enterprise NAS comes in.

NAS, or network-attached storage is a server-based storage system that enables file sharing between enterprise users.

In an enterprise environment, NAS systems are used for backup, archiving, and disaster recovery. These systems can also function as a multimedia, database, or print server for SMEs.

Enterprise NAS consists of the following features that make it vital for on-premises enterprises and data centers:

  • Petabyte scalability through multiple disk drives
  • Support for hard drive Integration
  • Storage tiering
  • Enhanced cache
  • Deduplication (file or block level, or both) and compression
  • Single name space
  • Multitenancy

All these factors mean that NAS is helping enterprises simplify and understand their storage needs, which is helping the global enterprise NAS market grow steadily, at a 25.85% CAGR from 2015-2019.

Trends to Watch in Enterprise NAS

Deployment of SDS

SDS involves a form of storage virtualization that separates software services such as data management, data protection, placement of data, and I/O capabilities from the underlying storage infrastructure. This helps increase the flexibility, scalability, and automation of the enterprise storage infrastructure, and decreases overall costs.

The technology also enhances resource pooling, abstraction, and automated management in storage infrastructure, and offers support for legacy applications, cloud-based services, and big data analytics. The demand for efficient management of enterprise storage has increased worldwide, which has resulted in an increased demand for SDS.

Hybrid Storage Arrays

Previously, SAN and NAS were considered as two separate storage appliances, with one being block-based and the other file-based storage, respectively. Both storage systems have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to enterprise implementation, which has inspired vendors in the storage market to offer hybrid SAN-NAS solutions, through which enterprises can merge block- and file-based data onto a common array.

SAN-NAS architecture is considered to be more complex compared to individual implementations, but over the forecast period it is expected to become more simplified so enterprises do not have to be dependent on one particular architecture for their changing requirements.

Cloud-Based NAS

Cloud-based NAS is remote storage that can be accessed over the Internet, and hosted by a third-party service provider that charges enterprises based on capacity and bandwidth used.

A key benefit of using this cloud-based service is that data can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. However, the data transfer rate is dependent on the network connection. There are also several vendors involved with integrating the existing NAS system with the popular cloud storage service Amazon S3. Integration of on-premises NAS with cloud storage will gain traction in the future, as it allows overall control over the latest data and facilitates backup and archiving of data in the cloud.

Evolution of Big Data Analytics

Big data analytics has triggered widespread technological progress in the enterprise storage arena. Both small and large enterprises use big data and associated analytical approaches to gain information for business forecasts. On-the-go business is a popular trend made viable through mobile devices and tablets. However, traditional storage systems are not feasible to run analytics on massive sets of complex data. To deal with this, vendors in the market are offering storage systems that are suitable for analytics and are likely to trigger a spate of product innovations over the forecast period.

Increased Use of Flash Storage

SSD storage, commonly known as flash storage, offers greater efficiency compared to traditional HDD storage devices, but it also costs a lot more

Vendors are continuously trying to decrease their product prices because of increased demand for storage in the market. It is expected that flash storage usage in an enterprise environment will be more than that of HDD by the end of the forecast period. The overall market will experience steady growth with the adoption of flash and traditional storage systems during the forecast period.