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DataCore IT survey shows gradual uptake of new storage technologies

A DataCore IT survey on the state of software-defined storage, hyper-converged systems and cloud storage showed a gradual uptake of some of the most heavily promoted new technologies.

For instance, flash use is growing, yet it will represent only a small percentage of overall storage capacity in 2017, according to the DataCore IT survey of 426 customers and prospective customers conducted from late 2016 through April 2017 via Survey Monkey.

The majority (76%) of the surveyed IT professionals indicated flash would represent less than 20% of their storage capacity in 2017. Among that group, 14% weren’t using flash at all, and 32% projected less than 10% of their storage capacity would be flash-based.

However, the IT survey respondents listed all-flash arrays as their top preference to overcome performance problems, followed by software acceleration on the host machine and switching to in-memory databases.

Flash also factored into the responses to the question: “What technology disappointments or false starts have you encountered in your storage infrastructure?” Flash failed to accelerate applications for 16% of the IT survey respondents.

The most cited disappointments were “cloud storage failed to reduce costs,” selected by 31%, and “managing object storage is difficult,” mentioned by 29%.

Confusion over hyper-converged

The DataCore survey indicated there’s confusion over what the term “hyper-converged” means. Close to half (41%) of survey respondents  think hyper-converged means software is tightly integrated with the hypervisor but hardware agnostic. Another 27% view hyper-converged as an “integrated appliance” with “hardware and software locked together.”

The majority of the IT survey respondents (67%) have not deployed hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), although 34% said they are strongly considering it. The primary reason for ruling out hyper-converged was lack of flexibility, followed by expense and vendor lock-in.

Among those who have deployed HCI, 6% have standardized on it, 7% have a few major deployments, and 20% have a few nodes. Top reasons for deploying or evaluating hyper-converged systems were simplifying management (48%), ease of scale-out (39%), and reducing hardware costs (35%). Leading use cases were databases, data center consolidation, enterprise applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Surveyed IT pros noted the following business drivers for implementing software-defined storage: simplify management of different models of storage (55%), future-proof infrastructure (53%), avoid hardware lock-in from storage manufacturers (52%), and extend the life of existing storage assets (47%).

When DataCore conducted the IT survey in 2015, a lower percentage (45%) indicated they were trying to simplify management of different storage classes by automating frequent or complex storage operations.

Top use cases that IT pros noted for public cloud storage were long-term archive (35%), back up to cloud and restore on premises (33%), and disaster recovery (33%). A small percentage (11%) said they use the public cloud for primary storage, but a substantial percentage (40%) are not currently evaluating or using the cloud for storage.

For IT pros unwilling to move applications to the public cloud, the primary reasons are security (57%), sensitive data (56%) and regulatory requirements (41%). The applications they’re most willing to move to public or hybrid cloud infrastructure were select enterprise applications such as Salesforce (33%), data analytics (22%), databases (21%), and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), according to the survey.

DataCore said the 426 IT professionals who responded to the survey are using or evaluating software-defined storage, hyper-converged systems and cloud storage. The majority of the respondents (84%) were from North America and Europe.

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