Data Storage Will Be Critical in Digital Transformation and Defeating Cyber Threats in 2021

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Click to learn more about author Jon Toor.

A 2020 survey of senior IT decision-makers and IT security professionals found that 84 percent of respondents’ organizations have accelerated their digital transformation efforts as a direct result ofCOVID-19. Having a modern storage infrastructure is key to these efforts, one that is optimized for a hybrid cloud world, meets increased performance and capacity demands, supports new container-based applications and protects data against ever-evolving cyber threats.

As a result, below are a few trends we can expect to see in 2021.

Public cloud and on-prem storage will merge. All public cloud providers now offer on-prem solutions, which positions public cloud and on-prem as environments that should work in combination, rather than being viewed as an either/or decision. In addition, enterprise storage providers have upped their cloud game, building new solutions that work with the public cloud rather than competing with it. As both sides move towards the center, the inevitable result is that organizations will come to view public cloud and on-prem as two sides of the enterprise storage coin.

Self-managing storage in data centers will become mainstream. Automation will expand as a critical component of data storage systems to replicate data for disaster recovery, manage immutable copies of data, monitor hardware for potential failures and proactively initiate replacement tickets. Enterprises will increasingly rely on automation to reduce outages and disruptions with predictive maintenance – ultimately saving costs, enhancing data security and adapting to evolving workload needs. 

Organizations will look for new ways to use object storage and Kubernetes together. In an increasingly cloud-native world, modern applications will increasingly be deployed in capacity-intensive workloads. Object storage provides the scalable infrastructure to support these large workloads. Organizations will look for new tools and approaches that make it easier to use object storage and Kubernetes together for massive cloud-native workloads. 

Kubernetes will migrate to on-prem as the next wave of virtualization gives way. Kubernetes will see rising on-prem adoption, with VMware leading the trend. During the next year, VMware will introduce more products and partnerships that will further drive Kubernetes on-premises and make the technology available to a whole new mainstream audience. Until recently, the major public cloud providers dominated the conversation around Kubernetes, arguing that almost everything, especially Kubernetes deployments, should be located in the public cloud. However, more and more enterprises have begun to realize that Kubernetes-based workloads (and many workloads in general) are actually a better fit on-prem, depending on their specific business needs.

Flash vendors will try to improve scalability but will struggle to re-architect their platforms in the process. Organizations will increasingly use flash storage to support performance-intensive workloads such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. However, these organizations will struggle mightily to re-architect their platforms as they try to scale up their flash storage platforms to accommodate the growing data volumes associated with these workloads. 

Object storage shatters the myth that it’s only used for archive
. Although object storage is best known as a backup and archive storage solution, three trends will expand that perception in 2021. First, flash-based object storage will gain favor in data analytics workloads that also have high-capacity requirements. Second, S3-compatible storage will simplify Kubernetes deployments, making it a logical choice for modern applications. Third, cloud-native applications will be increasingly be deployed on prem, driving the need for on-prem S3-compatible storage to enhance application portability. As a result, more organizations will use object storage to support compute-heavy use cases, such as AI, ML and data analytics, shattering the “cheap and deep” myth once and for all.

Cyber insurers will demand more robust data protection. Although cyber insurance will back enterprises up if a breach occurs, insurers will expect their customers to do everything possible to protect against one to minimize risk. It will be critical for enterprises to implement data storage with the right set of security protections to be eligible for cyber insurance and receive the best rates in 2021.

Ransom will be taken out of ransomware in 2021. As remote work and learning continues into 2021, ransomware attacks will become more manageable as enterprises will opt for immutable backup data repositories on top of perimeter security solutions. This ensures they can restore a clean copy of data in the event of an attack, without needing to pay the ransom. Ransomware will no longer be a potential catastrophe, causing downtime rather than an existential threat of date being held hostage for exorbitant sums.

The pandemic created new challenges in 2020, leading many organizations to rethink their IT strategies. As digital transformations continue to accelerate in the coming year, enterprises will want to ensure they have a storage foundation optimized for modern data workflows and protection against increasing cyber threats.

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