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Sea change coming for storage

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Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Cloud Congress in Shanghai – As cloud computing becomes more pervasive, storage is assuming a new importance, and new technologies will emerge to simplify the acquisition and management of enterprise storage.

Joerg Kerpinski, sales director: Germany for Huawei Enterprise systems business, reveals that the industry is about to see major changes in storage tiering.

“As we go forward, storage management is going to become a lot easier,” he says. “There are also going to be big changes in the kind of storage devices that we use.”

These changes will happen as early as this year, he reveals.

“Huawei has a programme whereby different portions of the storage platform will be priced equally,” says Kerpinsky. “This is sending an aggressive message to the market.”

Overall, Huawei s making waves in the hardware environment, which it believes lies at the heart of any cloud strategy.

“Hardware is still at the core, and so it needs to be innovative, scalable and intelligent,” Kerpinsky says. “And, even though hardware today feels a lot like software, it is still hardware.”

The changes in how hardware is deployed are generating new challenges for IT professionals, he adds, especially as the business transforms to become more ICT-centric.

“There are technology challenges, but also structural challenges. The cloud means a lot of people have got to think carefully about how they invest in the future.

“And systems integrators have got to ask themselves what their business will be in the next five or seven years as their customers change their behaviour and business structures.”

Huawei believes that the cloud will soon become as pervasive and easy to use as the phone. “So it will have to scale up, but also scale down.”

While some enterprises may stop running their own data centres, others will still run their own hardware but will move away from the current best of breed trend, says Kerpinsky. “Companies are going to want oen convenient box that does everything they need. By 2020, the chip itself will be self-controlling and reprogrammable.”

This new hardware will allow for shorter upgrade cycles, which will help to protect their investment.

Specifically on the storage front, Kerpinsky points out that much storage today is in silos within computing systems but also different media.

“Our answer to this problem is OceanStor DJ, which allows for an easy, innovative and intuitive mix of all storage together in an open, flexible and modern platform.”

OceanStor allows enterprises to address the same storage array with either file or block storage, which Kerpinsky explains results in a big resource pool.

“In the cloud, you have to take care when you rebuild systems, but the OceanStor cuts rebuild times from hours to minutes.”

The bottom line when it comes to storage, says Kerpinsky, is that enterprise will be able to start taking better control of their storage resources, better adapting them to suit actual needs.

The new software trend runs through the hardware stack, he adds, providing the building blocks for cloud computing.

“In the past virtualisation was driven by the hardware and software companies, but as we move into Cloud 3.0, decisions are starting to be driven by applications. Customers no longer really care what the hardware is, or the infrastructure; they want to be running the right application regardless of the platform.”

This will lead to a change in the way the virtualisation platform as a whole is management, Kerpinsky says. “Huawei’s FusionSphere combines virtualisation and software-defined networking. The new version also includes dedicated containers and micro-services, built to work together. And it is cloud-driven technology, built and born to work in the cloud environment.”