Flash storage, cloud and data analytics are three technologies which impose significant change to storage. All three cover three different aspects. I have noticed that a clear definition of these topics is beneficial for discussions about storage. Here are my definitions:
1. Cloud Storage
Cloud (storage) is imposing disruptive change to IT by offering a very cost effective delivery model which forces vendors, providers and customers to optimize hardware, software and operations for the new cloud delivery model. This puts huge pressure onto everyone and everything which implicitly forces more and more evolutionary technical enhancements to adapt to the cloud delivery model. The sum of these evolutionary technical enhancements may result in a disruptive change of the whole IT industry. The technical changes of cloud (storage) are not rocket science; cloud it is more about the maturing of IT by establishing standardized processes.
2. Flash Storage
Flash storage is an emerging storage technology which can be integrated in traditional IT architectures and in cloud storage. Flash significantly reduces the response time for reading and writing data. The traditional architecture of IT systems is optimized for a storage hierarchy with fast volatile storage close to the CPU and slow persistent storage on external devices. The availability of flash DIMMs inside the server may trigger disruptive changes which go far beyond of accelerating external disk systems by replacing disk drives by SSDs.
3. Data Analytics
Whilst cloud storage and flash storage is about accessing and storing data, data analytics is about processing data. The objective of data analytics is to gain more insight from the already available data. The more data is available, the better the potential results of data analytics. Cloud and flash enable to own, access and process the required huge amounts of data more quickly and more cost effectively.
Cloud, flash storage and data analytics are three hot topics which will drive the next changes to storage in particular, but also to IT in general. They are independent of each other, though their combination will enable data intensive applications to tackle problems which we do not think of today.
Contrasting Cloud Storage, Data Analytics and Flash Storage