Cloud computing, storage-as-a-service, solid state flash drives to thrive in 2009

* Predictions for storage in 2009

The beginning of the New Year is normally when industry pundits make predictions of what will be big in storage in the coming year. So in that tradition, here are my predictions of what I am looking forward to hearing more about in 2009. Among the technologies in this category are cloud computing, storage-as-a-service and solid state flash drives.

Cloud computing has been the buzz for the last year as company’s like Amazon S3 and Nirvanix made news of their offerings. The concept of getting your computing resources from the cloud will make even bigger news this year as companies rely on outside services rather than their own infrastructures for their computing needs.

Storage-as-a-service will be big too. Vendors such as EMC’s Decho and other online backup service providers will see more business from companies that want to place backup of employee desktops and laptops into the cloud. Consumer reliance on online backup services will grow too, as they continue to generate content they need to protect. Storage-as-a-service will also benefit from companies' quest to delay capital expenditures in the current economic downturn.

Taking a top place in the minds of network admins will be ways to save money on storage acquisition. Features and products that ship with storage arrays like thin provisioning, along with server virtualization, will be important to companies intent on not only cutting expenses by consolidating servers. Instead, they want to bolster disaster recovery and business continuity strategies by storing virtual machine images on SANs or NAS systems and using those images to recover failed servers or quickly provisioning new servers.

Solid state flash drives will continue to pervade the enterprise. EMC implemented them in 2008 in its high-end Symmetrix boxes. Watch for Hitachi Data Systems to do the same and for other vendors such as Compellent, Xiotech, 3Par and NetApp to follow.

Whatever 2009 brings for storage, I’ll be there watching and waiting for good things to come.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.