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A Look Back at 2013 & Plans for 2014

A Look Back at 2013 & Plans for 2014

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As we start 2014 and prepare for another 365 days of information technology fun, I thought it would be good to both look back and forward to what has taken place during the last 12 months and what we can expect from Architecting IT during the next twelve.  Here are just some thoughts, although this isn’t an exhaustive list!

2013 – The Year of Flash?

In many ways, 2013 was the year of flash, purely from the amount of discussion it has created.  It could be said that the use of all-flash arrays was legitimised by the release of all flash products from some of the big six – EMC finally reached GA with XtremIO and HP released an all-flash version of their 3PAR platform.  Of course some vendors (Hitachi for example) have been doing all-flash devices for some time and the startups have been in the market for a number of years.  We also saw IPOs from Violin Memory and Nimble Storage, both heavily involved in flash products and the acquisition of Whiptail by Cisco.

What can we expect from the year to come?  I think we’ve seen a maturing of flash technology and the start of consolidation in this industry segment.  At this stage, Violin look the most at risk and possibly most likely to be acquired simply for their low valuation.  Maturing of flash means products need to become fully featured – local and remote replication, scalability are key, as will space reduction technologies such as de-duplication, compression and thin provisioning.

Converged 2.0

I’ve been skeptical so far on the idea of converged infrastructure, especially those configurations that provide little flexibility in what can be added after initial deployment.  This year I’ve had presentations from Hitachi and HP both of which have good integration of the components – server, networking and storage.  However there is a premium to pay for this; Hitachi were honest to admit this would add around 10% to the cost of buying the items separately.  Obviously for this you get additional certification of the component parts working together.

The next stage for these solutions has to be deeper and better integration of the management components to remove the need for component level software.  These software elements simply add more complexity in terms of management and support.  Allowing native component management is the way HP are moving with their OneView platform and that’s one to watch in the coming months.

Networking and Security

This year’s revelations on the activities of security services, including the US NSA and GCHQ in the UK, have focused everyone’s minds on how data and networks should be secured. As cloud computing becomes more pervasive then security and managing network traffic will become a key issue and probably one of the most interesting areas for 2014.

Private vs Public

Thinking more about security, there’s a discussion to be had on whether to use more private versus public cloud services.  I think this may be a red herring at this stage; if the security services (or any other hackers) wanted to access corporate data, then I’m sure they could find a way (we’ve seen plenty of data breaches even in the last 12 months).  In fact it’s likely that most cloud computing service providers are offering more secure data centres, both physically and logically as they’ve had to manage the issues of multi-tenancy from inception.

I think 2014 will be another year of working on people and process to get positioned for private then public cloud.  The benefits are all about changing process and moving to more agile working.


I’ve written nothing on Openstack so far as I am not convinced the platform has a future.  From what I’ve seen and read so far, the software is difficult to deploy and configure, despite thousands of hours of investment of time and energy, including involvement from many vendors.  In 1989 I started work at a company called EftPos.  All of the major UK financial organisations (around 13) got together to develop a single all-encompassing debit and credit card system which would manage all back-end reconciliations between the member banks. After a couple of years EftPos was wound up and the banks used the acquired knowledge to continue to develop their own card processing technologies.  I can see Openstack heading the same way and becoming fragmented as the converged infrastrcture vendors use take the experience back into their own software platforms.

Popular Posts of 2013

Here are the most popular posts of the last 12 months (views are based on website hits and exclude items read via RSS).

  1. Comparing and Contrasting All-Flash Arrays – All Vendors (2555 views)
  2. EMC Megalaunch – Speeding to Lead Balloon (2490 views)
  3. What EMC Should Have Done With VNX (2250 views)
  4. Review: AWS Storage Gateway (2094 views)
  5. ScaleIO, EMC’s New Baby (1956 views)
  6. ViPR Frankenstorage Revisited (1913 views)
  7. XtremIO: What You Need to Know (1850 views)
  8. Gartner ECB (External Controller-Based Disk) 4Q2012 (1798 views)
  9. HP 3PAR 7450 All Flash Array (1697 views)
  10. Storage IPO Season – Violin Memory and Pure Storage (1645 views)
  11. Storage QoS – How hard can it be? (1561 views)
  12. The Evolution of Hitachi Data Systems (1465 views)
  13. Who’s Doing Software Defined Storage? (1449 views)
  14. Defining Software Defined Storage (1431 views)
  15. What is EMC’s Project Nile? (1304 views)
  16. Storage QoS In The Cloud (1375 views)
  17. Google’s Hollow Cloud Storage Offering (1336 views)
  18. Moving on from Storage Tiering (1052 views)
  19. Performance Tier or Capacity Tier? – No It’s The Working Set (1079 views)
  20. Quick Thought: Gartner SSD Market Analysis (1086 views)

Plans for 2014

So as we look forward to the next 12 months, I will be working on white papers.  Currently the editorial calendar looks as follows:
  • January 2014 – Flash in the Enterprise
  • February 2014 – Storage Caching for Virtualisation
  • March 2014 – Converged vs Hyper-converged Systems
  • April 2014 – Object Storage

This will be subject to change and listed on a separate site page.

The Architect’s View

2014 promises to be another fascinating year for IT. Bring it on!

(Image © Darren Hester for openphoto.net)

Comments are always welcome; please indicate if you work for a vendor as it’s only fair.  If you have any related links of interest, please feel free to add them as a comment for consideration.

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Copyright (c) 2014 – Chris M Evans, first published on http://blog.architecting.it, do not reproduce without permission.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • Michael Webster

    Interesting how quickly Eftpos got wound up in the UK as we wouldn’t be caught dead without our Eftpos cards in New Zealand. The whole country and every shop has an Eftpos terminal that process both bank cash cards (Eftpos cards), debit cards, and credit cards. It’s a great system. I guess the bank in the UK didn’t have enough vision or staying power. Probably why we’ve had Eftpos since the mid Nineties (with realtime balances since the late 80’s) and it still took three days to get an electronic transaction to show up on a statement when I lived over there in the early 2K’s.

    So I think what this proves visa vis the OpenStack debate, is even if this technology isn’t adopted in some markets it will absolutely explode in others. Now that VMware is involved in the movement I’d say things might get a bit simpler to deploy and manage. At least if you’re using the OpenStack distribution that VMware is part of.

    On the converged side. I saw many converged technology offerings in the past 24 months and the only one that stacked up in reality was the one I put my money and career into. Nutanix. Hyper-converged is the way most data centers will eventually go.

    2013 was the year of flash, but 2014 will be the year that flash is absolutely pervasive and there will be very few if any devices shipped that don’t have flash included. The economic benefits are clear, the environmental benefits are clear. The costs are rapidly coming down. The performance requirements and users will demand it. The trick or challenge will be to balance the performance of flash with the capacity of HDD at the best economic cost and cost in terms of CPU operations per IOP.

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