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Storage Innovation and Sustainability Trends to Watch in 2024

These three trends will become increasingly important in 2024 – and beyond.

Many enterprises are going into 2024 with a renewed focus on cutting costs by improving efficiencies and increasing automation. These efforts extend to storage. Finding efficiencies in how storage capacity is delivered, how data is moved and processed, and how power is conserved and managed in the data center will become increasingly important in 2024 and beyond.

For Further Reading:

Navigating the Lines Between Container-Native and Container-Ready Storage

Executive Q&A: Software-Defined Storage

Data Storage Trends: A Look Ahead

Enterprises aren’t the only ones looking to improve efficiencies; vendors are engaging in new collaborations and partnerships to address user needs in a more efficient way.Here are three trends I expect to see in 2024 related to storage.

Prediction #1: CXL comes into its own

Workloads are becoming denser as businesses increase their use of performance-intensive processes around AI, modeling and simulation, and big data analytics. That’s where Compute Express Link (CXL) comes in. This industry-supported open standard maintains a unified memory space and high-speed communication between host processors and attached devices, including storage.

With every iteration, CXL gets better. The current 3.0 specification has the fastest transfer rate yet. It can manage up to 16 switches and has superior memory pooling, sharing, and support.

Although it’s focused on memory, CXL will have direct and beneficial impacts on storage. It’s faster due to support for peer-to-peer reads and writes, and overall higher I/O bandwidth. It provides memory to applications that require a lot of it. Incorporating CXL into advanced storage also sets the stage for businesses to embrace performance-hungry applications and processes, including those that leverage AI, machine learning, and other types of advanced computations.

Prediction #2: The AI avalanche accelerates infrastructure evolution

AI was seemingly everywhere in 2023, and it will grow in 2024 because it represents wide-ranging potential to change how businesses operate. In fact, it’s one of the brightest spots in IT spending overall, according to Gartner.

At the same time as AI commands a higher share of IT’s wallet, running AI workloads demands more energy and power -- demands that can be difficult to meet in data centers with finite power, space, and cooling resources. AI also can create bottlenecks around memory, computing resources, and networking. These challenges will push infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders to find power and cost savings as well as power efficiencies elsewhere in their infrastructure.

AI will start to work its way into storage technology, starting with telemetry. With AI-based telemetry analysis, businesses can expect more effective predictions about failures and faster debugging of issues, resulting in less downtime and the ability to get more life out of storage devices. AI can also aid in intrusion detection and assessing whether alerts are real or false alarms. We should see real growth in these types of capabilities in 2024.

Prediction #3: Sustainability becomes even more important

The pressure to conduct operations more sustainably has never been higher. According to Deloitte, 75% of organizations have increased their sustainability investments over the past year, focusing on using energy-efficient or climate-friendly machinery, technologies, and equipment.

Much of this is also driven by requirements to comply with existing Scope 1 and 2 emissions requirements. Scope 1 emissions are greenhouse gas emissions that occur from sources either controlled or owned by an organization; Scope 2 are emissions organizations cause indirectly from where the energy is purchased or produced. Many are also preparing to comply with the upcoming Scope 3 requirements; these focus on emissions that result from assets purchased from others.

According to the Journal of Cleaner Production, data storage will account for as much as 14% of the global carbon footprint by 2040. Focusing on storage sustainability can go a long way toward achieving target sustainability issues while improving efficiency and reducing costs. That means choosing devices carefully by considering not only “device-to-device” comparisons but also considering the bigger-picture, solution-level effects of choosing a particular device or architecture.

Looking beyond spec sheets, organizations should truly focus on energy expenditure, data compression capabilities, and the way different storage devices deliver, move, and process data to improve overall “work per watt.”

About the Author

JB Baker is the VP of marketing and product management at ScaleFlux where he is responsible for defining future products and communicating the positioning and benefits of working with ScaleFlux to overcome the challenges facing IT infrastructure and operations teams. You can reach the author via email or LinkedIn.

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