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A look at 2015

As we reach the end of the year, one of my favorite things to do is look through a never-ending supply of lists:  Christmas lists from my kids and family; “Best of …” lists for 2014; and “Top Predictions for …” lists for the coming year.  While I’ve certainly had some good reads on the first two (a hummingbird for Christmas? Really?) one (slightly) more relevant list to this blog is’s “Hot data storage technologies for 2015” list.

Reading through this list resonated strongly with where were are and where we are going with our storage solutions within Symantec.  As these storage trends and capabilities become more widely adopted in the enterprise, we are uniquely positioned to be a single source to enable adoption of many of these options today, let alone in 2015. A few of particular interest…

  • Flash has been at the forefront of the strategies for our product for three to four years now, and 2015 will be no different.  SearchStorage mentions that All Flash Arrays are “poised for adoption across a wider range of workloads” within the enterprise. Symantec’s vendor neutral stance on back-end storage, combined with our market leading availability solutions, has put us in a core position to help customers migrate from legacy HDD based arrays onto new All-Flash architectures. All without downtime for applications.  With over 1000 different array models on our HCL, including market leaders in the All Flash Array space, we have seen this shift happening steadily over the past year and will be there to enable increasing pace of adoption.
  • On the opposite end of the performance spectrum is the inclusion of Cloud-based disaster Recovery.  Local, campus, and geo-dispersed high availability and disaster recovery have long been core components of the Symantec portfolio.  With recent announcements with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and HP Helion, Disaster Recovery as a Service is an area that the storage and application knowledge from Symantec brings unique capabilities to the enterprise.
  • Two core components within our Storage Foundation are our Veritas Volume Manager (VxVM) and File System (VxFS).  These products have long been the leader in data access, management, and optimization on mission critical system, regardless of the operating system and deployment type.  In 2013 we introduced our SmartIO capability that aligns to SearchStorage’s Flash Caching focus for 2015.  Using in-server Flash to de-couple IOPs from SAN capacity allows customers to accelerate application performance, improve application density, and drive storage ROI through commoditization of SAN storage.  A full-featured cache solution means running on any OS across any physical or virtual deployment.  SmartIO provides this while integrated into existing storage and application management solutions.
  • Whether you refer to it as Server SAN, Software Defined Storage, or Networking Server-Based Storage, advances in software and increasing capacities and performance of bare metal has continued to increasing the acceptance of DAS as a reliable, cost-effective means to provide full featured storage to applications outside of proprietary arrays.  Mainstream products like VSAN from VMWare, ScaleIO from EMC, and Symantec Cluster File System are bellwethers in this emerging area.  With CFS, Symantec combines the scale-out, server based storage solution with application management for a complete Software Defined Storage solution with application management built in.  To me, there’s more to server based storage than sharing I/O.   Applications are nothing with access to data, and vice verss.  This can be done on any platform, within native hypervisors, and in any location (Physical, Virtual, Cloud).
  • Lastly, SearchStorage calls out Hybrid Storage Arrays. Hybrid arrays “that mix HDDs and solid-state drives (SSDs) are the leading option for enterprise flash deployments today”. These are amazing devices that take capabilities like storage tiering and hot data and abstracts them under a SAN device.  And while these may be a differentiated market versus HDD or All Flash Arrays, to me they can also be looked at as a combination of the previous two areas discussed: Flash Caching and Networking Server-based Storage.  New 2/3/4U boxes are continuing to add more SATA/SAS/PCIe slots for more devices, CPUs are denser and faster, and Flash and HDDs are still adding more capacity to standard form factors while dropping $/GB.  A Hybrid array takes commodity components and builds advanced software on top.  Symantec software enables customers to build these devices with off-the-shelf hardware and software.

As mentioned at the beginning, lists are one my favorite things to read, dissect, and discuss at the end of the year.  These lists enable us to look back on where we were and compare that to where we are today and going tomorrow.  It could a personal note, like a 2 year old that didn’t know his own name in January asking for a hummingbird in December. Or a professional review like working on products that are in a great position to enable customers to take advantage of advances in enterprise storage.  Whatever the context, its amazing how quickly things move and how that pace is increasing, and I’m excited to participate in both.

Now about that bird...