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by Ranga Rangachari, Vice President and General Manager, Red Hat Storage

The storage industry has seen dramatic shifts in the past few years with the massive explosion of unstructured data and the emergence of open hybrid cloud deployments. And, this trend is expected to continue for several years. Looking through a storage crystal ball, here are my top predictions for 2014. Should they come true, the industry will see more community-driven, standards-based storage and big data innovations that give enterprise IT the agility to deliver services their users need.

Compute and storage convergence will force the overhaul of IT operations

With private cloud and SaaS environments proliferating in enterprises worldwide, the integration of compute, networking and storage infrastructure is changing the way technology services are defined, enabled and delivered. This will necessitate re-thinking of core IT tools, principles and staffing to support the converged infrastructure. IT specialist roles and accompanying tools focused on silos of hardware-based networking, compute and storage services will revert to the broad systems approach and IT will focus on delivering and managing user services across the complete technology environment however and from whomever they are sourced.

Big data ISVs will increasingly innovate at the analytics layer, driving core technology standardization and certifications

Big data is forcing ISVs to add value through innovation at the analytics layer. But ISVs are scrambling to build applications that support many nonstandard variants of core big data infrastructure technology. This includes the operating system, storage infrastructure, and core big data infrastructure such as Hadoop and new styles of databases – the modern equivalent of the LAMP stack. The establishment of industry-wide standards and formal certifications across the stack will create fewer variants ISVs need to support with the necessary mechanisms for service and support. ISVs will only be successful if they can develop on a proven standardized stack to bring high-performing analytics applications to a broader market quickly.

Hybrid software-defined storage will increasingly become an important means to maintain application and data portability across hybrid IT environments

The increasing hybridization of IT coupled with big data and software-defined infrastructure trends has caused a major shift in storage infrastructure – from expensive and inflexible hardware-centric storage to software-defined storage. Elastic, POSIX-based storage software that incorporates common APIs across your hybrid environment is the only way to move data easily between public, private and hybrid on-premise environments. This is absolutely essential for maximum flexibility and portability of applications and data among different providers and between on-premise infrastructure and off-premise providers.

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