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Industry Insights and Predictions from Qumulo’s CTO

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Get the latest on current trends and what we’re predicting for the future of data storage

A lot has changed in data storage over the past few years and our team is closely attuned to how these changes may impact our customers. From an increased focus on cost efficiency to a stronger emphasis on data security, we spent some time talking about what we may expect in the years to come and what Qumulo is doing to best empower our customers. 

In a recent Qumulo webinar, our CTO Kiran Bhageshpur spoke about the trends and patterns he’s observed and what he thinks is coming in the near future.

The rapid ascension of AI and machine learning

Perhaps the biggest trend we’ve seen emerge lately is the rise in AI and machine learning. For example, applications like ChatGPT are already bringing the implications of AI to the mainstream. We can expect more players to quickly follow suit which will spur AI/ML datasets to double in size this year.

“Most organizations will, independent of whether we have a recession, launch or expand an AI initiative,” Bhageshpur said. “What that means for folks in our world is there’s immediate implications on both infrastructure and particularly data.” 

With AI/ML workloads becoming more ubiquitous in every industry, it’ll be up to us to ensure both cost-efficient and performant storage long term for this growing use case.

Cloud infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The next prediction is that cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) will outpace on-prem this year. A good part of that will be fueled by the increasingly distributed workforce – more on that below. The big thing we’ll also start to see this year is the use of cloud for more large file-based workloads. We’re talking about hundreds of terabytes to multi-petabyte deployments. Today, object-based storage like S3 is still the predominant choice for unstructured data in the cloud. File-based storage makes up a small portion of cloud storage due to higher costs and limitations on features and scale. We expect that to change in the near future — and we’re looking to drive part of that change. 

Distributed, hybrid work is here to stay

The pandemic has permanently changed the way we work. We’re going to see distributed workforces continue to be the new normal, therefore, data will need to be managed and accessible from anywhere. “Many businesses have told us that they have essentially outgrown their facility footprints during the pandemic,” Bhageshpur said. “They have no intention of bringing people back into a central location. It’ll be a permanently hybrid workforce.” 

This isn’t just office-type jobs, either. Groups like research and production teams are able to work faster from anywhere and they need the infrastructure to support those intense remote workloads.

Software continues to eat the world

Software and software-defined everything, whether it’s networking, block storage, or file storage is the way to go and anything that doesn’t depend on straight-up commodity infrastructure is going to be harder and harder to justify.  

“If you can remember about a dozen years ago, Violin was the hot new kid on the block” Bhageshpur said. “It did things with flash. It did things in a highly bespoke hardware-centric manner. They built FPGAS and they did great for a while. Then it just essentially disappeared even as a public company, and that is not because the product was bad, but because they were fighting trends.”

Non-commodity hardware-based systems, like Violin, are going to continue to wither on the vine, so to speak. We’re going to continue to see the long and slow goodbye of Storage Class Memory as we’re down to just one vendor now. This means building infrastructure based on these types of hardware-centric technology is risky and less future-proof. What we will start to see more of in 2023 is high density (think 30 TB and higher) QLC NVMe drives with acceptable wear will make all-flash affordable to more people than it has been in the past. 

The evolution of cyber warfare

Finally, our somewhat controversial take here is that while cyberwars have been a longstanding problem, companies may soon gain traction. What this means is we’re going to see more of a concerted effort to bolster security and introduce more regulation to ensure better cyber readiness for critical industries resulting in reduced number and frequency of attacks in the future. 

“We’re going to see western-style governments start coordinating and being very active and preemptive against militia cyber actors,” Bhageshpur said. “In the past, when this happened it was the company’s problem. Going forward, it’s going to be a nation-state problem because they’re targeting critical infrastructure. Once that starts happening the game is more or less over for cybercriminals.”

So, where do we go from here?  We want to ensure our customers’ on-going success with a truly future-proof storage solution. Here’s what you can expect from Qumulo in 2023. 

More platform choice 

Choice and flexibility will be key in a software-defined world. . We’re working hard to open up as many platforms as possible. “Our goal here is to let you pick any platform that you want to run Qumulo on,” Bhageshpur said.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running on-prem, in the cloud, or even at the edge, your organization has preferences, contracts, or regulations that dictate the storage platform you use. Whether it is Lenovo, Dell, HPE, or a white box vendor of your choice, we want to enable you to deploy Qumulo on any of those platforms. 

We’ll start with three new platforms in the first half of 2023. We also want to really open the opportunities out here in the cloud. Because we’re a software-defined platform, we have the ability to run on just about any platform and any cloud with the same, simple user experience Qumulo customers know and love.  

Stay tuned as we release new platform options for your data centers on-premises and the cloud. We’ve recently announced the public preview availability of our Azure Native Qumulo Scalable File Service, which lets you provision and scale Qumulo data services natively in Microsoft Azure in minutes with just a few clicks. 

More control as you Scale Anywhere

In December of last year, we announced support for up to 265 nodes in a single cluster, enabling you to grow capacity to truly massive scale. We’re soon going to make it possible to adjust data protection configurations as your clusters grow to maximize storage efficiency while ensuring fault tolerance and resiliency. We’re also going to make it possible to upgrade and replace nodes in your cluster without having to migrate, eliminating any disruption for your end users. Look out for our announcement and more details on availability in mid-to-late March. 

Simplicity, at scale

In addition to making it radically simple to scale your data anywhere — at the edge, in your data center, and in the cloud — we’re also looking to make managing data in multiple locations as simple as managing them in one. We’re entering a world where dealing with many islands of data in many different locations will be the norm. Therefore, we’ll be working to deliver a way of tying everything together in a single namespace through a unified interface, making it simple to monitor and manage your data, everywhere it lives.  

We’ll also continue the effort we kicked off with our Simply Secure initiative to ensure protecting your data is made as simple as possible. Look for more updates to our multi-tenancy features and enhancements to our ransomware protection and detection capabilities. 

Store, manage, and curate data, anywhere and forever

“Our real vision is to run anywhere, on any platform, and at scale. And, we want to do it simply,” Bhageshpur said. “We want to make certain you have the best performance, as well as the best cost point across all of your locations. We also want to simplify management down to one interface that manages all of that data with one namespace to stitch them all together. That’s our north star.”

With this guiding principle in mind, we’re focusing on delivering:

  • Centralized management 
  • More platform options 
  • More control over costs and efficiency as you scale
  • Enhanced security made simple 

If you’d like to learn more about how Qumulo can help your business, let’s talk. Contact us today to learn more.


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