2017 Data Storage and Active Archive Predictions

Over the past year, new storage technology innovations for active archives have enabled organizations to gain reliable access to all of their data, all of the time. As a result, these organizations have experienced increased cost savings, decreased energy consumption and improved storage administrator efficiency.

The key drivers that will impact the continued use of active archive in the future include the decreased cost of flash storage, greater automation, the rise of tiered storage workflows and the growth of tape in public and private cloud infrastructures. 

Members of the Active Archive Alliance recently shared their perspective on the outlook for data storage and active archive in 2017.  Here is a list of the top trends to watch:

         Automated Policies and Artificial Intelligence Come to Storage

Greater automation and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will simplify storage management and the use of active archives. New technology will help resolve two of the greatest challenges facing data management - data classifications and storage classifications. New software tools will use metadata to power automation providing a simple solution for data management.


          Tiered Storage Workflows on the Rise

As the cost of flash storage decreases and disk continues to struggle to maintain its cost and capacity curve, customers will look to adopt tiered storage workflows. Flash’s useable cost could drop below $1.00 per gigabyte while tape in large systems will cross below $.06 per gigabyte near line and below $.03 per gigabyte for offline or cold storage.


          Energy Consumption Challenges Drive Active Archive Adoption

Active archiving will get a boost as organizations continue to seek ways to reduce energy consumption - a significant and growing component of operating expenses for today’s rapidly expanding data centers. With servers and HDDs consuming more than 30% of the energy required to run IT hardware, data center managers will look for ways to reduce utilization of power-intensive hard disk drive technology. Less frequently accessed data will be moved to an active archive where it will remain accessible but consume less power on more economical storage tiers such as automated tape libraries on premises or in the cloud.


         Onramps Drive Growth in Tape Usage

Tape usage will grow substantially as a key component of public and private cloud infrastructures for cold and active archive data. Tape’s inherent attributes of low-cost, reliability and even portability combined with the increasing availability of file and object-based onramps to tape will accelerate adoption of tape beyond its historical role as a target of backup and recovery software. Solutions that offer data management intelligence and that integrate well with storage targets will alleviate historical management burdens associated with tape automation deployment, further fueling tape’s penetration of cloud infrastructures where long term preservation and access to that data are required.


         Cloud and Object Storage Bring More Flexibility to Archived Data

Object storage software can transform an archive into an active archive that is positioned between high-performance storage and tape. A combined cloud and object storage infrastructure provides additional capabilities allowing users to collaborate at LAN speeds and access data from any device, anywhere in the world. As content continues to grow, an active archive can scale seamlessly to billions of objects in a single namespace. Flexible, user-defined data protection options will be key in making this a reality.


         Ethernet Continues to Gain Market Share

Ethernet is winning. There are still a number of ways to connect storage and active archives to compute - Fibre channel, Ethernet, SAS, SATA, and InfiniBand. Even though some of these connections are lighter weight from a protocol standpoint, Ethernet will continue to gain market share as the external host connection means.


The following Active Archive Alliance members contributed to this list: DDN Storage, Fujifilm Recording Media USA, Inc., Spectra Logic, Strongbox Data Solutions and Quantum.