In our last entry we published our top 25 most read articles of 2015. Analysis of that list shows five key trends that IT professionals are trying to wrap their heads around as we enter 2016, but these trends can be summed up in one word; responsiveness. The data center has to become more responsive to the needs of the business. To do so IT planners need to create an environment that performs better (trend 1), integrates old and new storage hardware (trend 2), scales better (trend 3), virtualizes better (trend 4) and recovers faster (trend 5).
Trend 1 – Increasing Storage Performance is Job #1
Without question increasing and maintaining storage performance continues to be a top priority for IT professionals, but our readers are indicating that they want to do more than just throw flash at the problem; they wish to use flash intelligently. The number one article for the second year in a row is “What is Latency?“. In fact, daily traffic to this educational article is increasing. Its companion article, “What Are IOPS and should you care?” was also a top read. Our readers are learning that reducing latency is far more important than increasing IOPS.
The other top flash topics discussed were: does it matter what type of flash type is used, should you should stop worrying about flash wear out, what kind of RAID is best for flash, and should you use something other than ioMeter and Vdbench to test flash array performance?
Trend 2 – Software-Defined Everything
Almost 50% of the articles on our top 25 list were articles on software-defined storage (SDS). We are still very much in the initial phases of SDS adoption as IT professionals try to understand what SDS is, how to deliver it and how to integrate it into their environment.
We also see a maturing of SDS capabilities. The first phase of SDS focused on replacing data services incorporated into the storage hardware to drive down costs and increase flexibility. The second phase focuses on providing advanced features like quality of service (QoS) and parallel processing.
Trend 3 – Infrastructure Matters
The second trend we saw is also related to performance but focuses on how the infrastructure needs to adapt to high-performance storage and more demanding applications. Our #2 read article of 2015 was “Fibre Channel vs. Ethernet – Should You Switch?“, which also included our top watched video of all-time, comparing Fibre Channel to Ethernet. Barely missing the top list was another infrastructure related article, “The Criticality of Cabling Infrastructure in High-Performance Storage Networking“.
Trend 4 – Docker is the Next Wave
Container technology like Docker is the next megatrend. Storage professionals know this and are trying to get ready. Two Docker articles broke into the top 10 this year; “Docker: What do Storage Pros need to know?” and “Docker and Storage – Understanding Docker I/O” and we expect that trend to continue. Also, our highest attended webinar this year was “The Top 4 Requirements of a Docker Storage Architecture” which provided an hour-long discussion of the storage challenges that Docker creates and provides insight on how to resolve them.
Trend 5 – Backup and DR Remains Critical
The data protection process remains well represented on our list. Our article, “Backup Basics: What do SLO, RPO, RTO, VRO and GRO Mean?” was in the top five spot for the second year in a row. Disaster Recovery was also a popular topic with our article on “Situational Disaster Recovery” just barely missing the top read list.
Based on our analytics, IT professionals are trying to move their data centers to the next generation. The ability to adapt to the needs of the business is critical, and IT planners are building a storage infrastructure that can meet that demand by making it faster and more flexible.