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Organisations today rely on data to drive growth and innovation, but when it comes to data storage needs, every organisation is different. While most companies are interested in a path to the cloud, striking the right balance between successful data management and optimal application performance remains a common struggle in that journey. Because of this, we're going to continue to see a growing divide between applications that are suitable for the cloud versus those that are not, and that divide will be centred around storage performance.
Here are five high-performance data storage trends I see emerging throughout 2023:
1. High-performance computing environments will consolidate: We will see a consolidation of high-performance computing environments. Organisations will re-evaluate their storage infrastructure and realise that one storage platform supporting one specific workload is not practical and will not scale to support the many performance environments that enterprises, universities, and research institutes demand. More IT teams will see the opportunity in consolidating these environments and will voice the realities to stakeholders that the former approach is too costly and complex to manage.
2. Hard disk drives are here to stay: The inflection point where flash overtakes hard disk drives (HDDs) continues to be pushed out with supply chain needs and costs. The business model is simply not there to replace hard drives. Hybrid data environments with both flash and HDDs will become more prominent as they address the high-cost challenges with flash at the same time as taking the inefficient data movement to hard drives. As such, we expect to continue to see HDDs as a significant element of the data centre for the next few years.
3. Applications’ need for speed will drive purpose-built, high-performance storage: In 2023, the race will continue between compute, storage, and network. The thirst for optimal performance will drive the need for parallel architectures that make traditional enterprise storage platforms irrelevant due to the sheer capacity requirements of data-intensive, high-performance applications. GPUs will continue to outgrow the performance capabilities of traditional storage systems and drive the need for purpose-built HPC storage. As such, we’ll see organisations leverage a parallel high-performance architecture that will give them the abilities they need from their storage system. The emergence of quantum computing will only intensify the need for IT infrastructure innovation.
4. The Storage as a Service trend will be accompanied by on-premises storage: Storage as a Service (STaaS) will continue to grow in 2023, but the industry — and organisations — will realise that STaaS means different things: a public cloud offering, an individual company delivering it, or a storage provider offering customers a service-model delivery option. We expect to see STaaS as a public cloud offering gain greater traction in 2023, as it is a viable option for many applications, in particular activities associated with developing, testing, science, and algorithms. However, heavy CPU and GPU resources will continue to drive higher and higher performance needs from storage, which is nearly impossible to achieve from the cloud. As a result, there will also continue to be a trend of organisations keeping an element of compute and storage infrastructure on premises. Enterprises are interested in a ‘payment over time’ model and as such we anticipate this financial model taking off over the next one to three years.
5. The CFD market will grow to solve energy challenges: High-performance data-driven workloads will be increasingly applied to the energy sector over the next one to three years. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation, modelling, and analysis techniques are widely adopted in the automotive, aerospace and defence, electrical and electronics, and energy industries. We expect to see significant CFD research in the clean energy sector, as it will play an increasingly important role in shifting how energy is produced. This research will be heavily driven by the price of gas and net zero targets and by the organisations and governments exploring and optimising wind-based, ocean-based, and other renewable forms of energy. As the power of data and high-performance applications is realised in industries such as energy with CFD workloads, we expect to see enterprise IT teams pay closer attention to these applications and ensure they are supported by scalable, efficient, and cost-effective infrastructure solutions.