Cloud Services And The Demise Of Storage Arrays, But Intel Won’t Own Server Side Storage

By | December 16, 2015

Enterprises large and small have been flocking to cloud services and it’s sent the server business into a tailspin. Storage vendors are next to feel the disruptive pain. Recent market estimates show that storage industry growth has moved to ODMs and niche vendors targeting hyperscale cloud services. Indeed, most of the incremental storage, which is going into hyperscale cloud data centers, is being provided by converged, scale out systems. In the context of cloud services, this means they’re using distributed, virtualized storage on top of commodity servers; i.e. JBOD disks paired with cloud-native software.

Data Source: IDC | Chart: Author

Data Source: IDC | Chart: Author

The implications for top-tier storage vendors are obvious, declining sales and squeezed profit margins, however the ramifications for the rest of hardware supply chain could be equally profound, particularly for Intel. After much delay, ARM server SoCs are finally here and cloud-scale storage systems offer one of their best inroads to the data center. Here’s why and what it means to vendors and hardware buyers.

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Cloud-scale storage systems offer one of the best inroads for ARM servers in the data center. By coupling many small cores with hardware modules for things like data compression, parity (RAID) calculations, SSL acceleration (crypto calculations) and integrated storage and network controllers, ARM-based SoCs can be for storage servers what custom mobile chips like Apple’s A-series are to mobile devices: a tailored, all-in-one processing engine.

Read on for more on who’s affected and what to watch for in 2016.