Storage virtualization has come a long way, and the journey has not yet been completed.
Many more virtualization avenues have yet to be traveled. Currently, Kubernetes, for example, is taking virtual storage to a whole new level.
Here are some of the top trends in the storage virtualization market:
See more: The Storage Virtualization Market
1. Unified data stack
Storage virtualization enables a unified data stack across different deployment environments, according to Bin Fan, VP of open source and founding engineer, Alluxio.
“Data platform teams want their data architectures to have a standardized stack applicable to many different environments, making it possible to build once and deploy anywhere,” Fan said.
“Storage virtualization helps abstract away the complexity of data services in different environments, including on-prem data centers, cloud services by multiple vendors, and across geographical regions.”
2. Increased agility
Companies want greater flexibility and agility from their IT resources.
This plays into the strengths of storage virtualization.
“Virtualization of storage systems significantly reduces the complexity of different data access APIs, protocols, and configurations,” said Fan with Alluxio.
“Our customers who adopted storage virtualization observed increased agility in their hybrid and multicloud environments.”
See more: How Storage Virtualization is Used by Groupo Alcione, Seneca Family of Agencies, Consolidated Communications Holdings, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, and Daegu Metropolitan City: Case Studies
3. Hardware variety
In the past, companies were often vendor-specific shops. This came with advantages in terms of discounts and better support, but it also ended up in vendor lock-in.
See more: NetApp: Storage Portfolio Review
The cloud sometimes leads to hefty maintenance renewal fees at the end of the year. Software-defined storage (SDS) is changing that and making it possible for companies to diversify their hardware purchases.
“Storage virtualization builds on today’s trend toward software-defined storage and has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and scalability of enterprise IT systems,” said Scott Baker, VP, IBM Storage.
“It’s become increasingly important now that the majority of enterprise IT environments include storage hardware from multiple suppliers.”
By centralizing resources and enabling data services to be applied across the entire storage estate, storage virtualization helps organizations increase the value and extend the life cycle of their existing IT investments.
Plus, storage virtualization lets them treat disparate arrays as unified storage pools that can be consistently published to a variety of user environments, including cloud-based containerized workloads.
For example, IBM Storage believes storage virtualization will continue to grow in importance, because of its role in highly automated data centers.
4. Preparing for ransomware
Storage, just as much, as any other area of IT needs to be alert to the ransomware menace.
And storage virtualization, if anything, has made storage infrastructure more accessible to the overtures of cyber attackers. An Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) study found that cybersecurity has unseated the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) as the top area for IT spending.
A research study by Arcserve and Dimension Research found that 50% of organizations worldwide had been targeted by ransomware. These attacks are continuing at a high frequency. Yet, most organizations are unprepared.
The financial fallout can be staggering: 20% of organizations reported that they were asked to pay $1 million to $10 million; another 35% faced demands of over $100,000.
Understandably, they are responding with higher investment in better security tools, managed security services, improved backup/disaster recovery (DR), and training for personnel; 64% are spending more to upgrade existing security software and add new security applications.
5. Storage beware
Certain parts of the enterprise are more concerned about ransomware than others.
Cybersecurity, help desk, and IT management are in tune with the threat that ransomware poses on a daily basis.
Storage managers, however, don’t tend to pay as much attention based on the belief that their systems lie at the back end and are not subject to attack.
But the impact of storage virtualization has changed things and may have inadvertently brought about an easier pathway for cybercriminals to attack storage and from there, the enterprise.
Research from Continuity Software makes it clear that enterprise storage devices have 15 security vulnerabilities on average. Three of these can be considered high or critical risk.
“Therefore, it is vitally important that storage managers understand the magnitude of the ransomware menace and take steps to address these vulnerabilities,” said Doron Pinhas, CTO, Continuity.
See more: NetApp: Storage Portfolio Review