Data center advances fueled by flash storage, decline in infrastructure costs

Cloud-based services, big data analytics and internet-of-things applications are driving the growth of data centers.

Cloud-based services, big data analytics and internet-of-things applications are fueling the growth of data centers, according to a new report.  That expansion is supported by the adoption of all-flash storage arrays,  the increasing use of unified storage architectures and a decline in infrastructure prices,  Technavio predicted in its recent report, "Data Center IT Infrastructure Market: Top Trends and Forecasts."

Flash-based storage arrays offer 40 times better input/output than hard drives and about a 50 percent reduction in power consumption, according to Technavio. Access to all-flash storage has "heavily contributed" to demand for better storage performance for applications in the enterprise, which has contributed to an increase in hyper-scale data center facilities.  

Another top trend supporting data center growth is the declining cost of IT infrastructure, which  stimulates the rapid growth of data center spaces and, in turn, leads to IT infrastructure procurement. The decline in infrastructure pricing also has a major impact on the cloud pricing model, the report found. One example: Amazon Web Services has decreased its cloud-based service pricing by more than 40 percent, compared to its pricing in 2010.

"The emergence of systems that include converged and hyper-converged infrastructure solutions has led to the decline in the price of traditional IT infrastructure solutions," said Rohan Joy Thomas, a lead analyst at Technavio for data center research. " In terms of networking, the cost of physical hardware will drop with the increasing adoption of virtual networking solutions."

The authors also point to the growing adoption among data centers of unified storage architecture, which consolidates block and file services to open system clients and physical and virtual servers. This trend will also lead to growth in support for object storage, they predicted.

At the heart of this trend is the ability of unified storage systems to reduce the number of systems that need to be managed in a datacenter. It's also more flexible and scalable and potentially less expensive, they said.

These unified systems are also available in flash and hybrid array combinations, the researchers observed. "The number of virtual machines deployed in data centers is growing significantly," they wrote, "and the use of unified storage will be a huge advantage while allocating both file and block access to each virtual machine without compromising the performance of the storage array."

Read about the report here.

This article was first posted to Enterprise Systems Journal, a sibling site to GCN.

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