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Steve Santamaria, CEO, Folio Photonics, comments on developments that he expects to see in the data storage market during 2023.

Data storage will take on global warming

As the world continues to strive toward Net Zero, additional industries will come under the microscope. One industry heavily influenced by this will be the data storage industry. By 2025, data centers / centres will consume >3 percent of the world's electricity and storage can make up anywhere from 10-30 percent of a data center's overall energy consumption. When there is a specific industry accounting for >1 percent of global electricity consumption, people start to take notice and ask what can be done to lessen the power burden. This will create an industry-wide push toward sustainable storage technologies that are more energy-efficient than legacy hardware.

This sustainability push comes at an intriguing time in the industry as well. We have recently seen newer SSDs actually use more energy than HDDs, which has not been the case until now. HDDs will continue to push toward consuming less energy, but their technology will continue to struggle in terms of power consumption per TB relative to others. For meaningful sustainability advancements to be made with HDD technology, the idle energy consumption will need to be lowered significantly. Tape will continue to show that it is the most energy-efficient product on the market, but the tight window on operating and storage conditions will be a looming cloud on their sustainability narrative. For meaningful sustainability advancements to be made with tape technology, their operating conditions will need to be made significantly wider.

Cold storage will steal the spotlight

There has always been considerable interest in hot storage, but the drive to $0/TB has started increasing momentum toward the cold storage segment. As new applications that generate and analyze massive amounts of data are developed, there will be an overwhelming interest in developing new cold storage strategies to keep data lakes cost-efficient, energy-efficient, and secure for long periods of time. We have already seen an increase in extremely high-capacity HDD, optical, and tape technologies being researched in many labs across the globe. It will be a growing challenge to keep cold storage accessible while keeping it cost-efficient. This will create an influx of investment in current technologies paired with additional investment in new technologies that have the potential to disrupt this emerging industry. We have seen this trend start to begin in 2022 as there were high-capacity HDDs released, new tape libraries announced, and rising interest in new types of optical storage media and DNA storage.

Immutable storage growth

In 2023 immutable storage will becomes increasingly commonplace. It is no secret that data has become a strategic asset. It is directly or indirectly tied to profitability for nearly every organization in the world today. Unfortunately, this means it’s becoming a high-value target for cybercriminals. The ever-growing threat of malicious actors will drive up demand for immutable storage. Not only will immutable snapshots be in high demand, but immutable media will find itself being implemented in storage architectures across every industry.

Other trends

While I believe the above trends to be those with the most momentum in the upcoming year, I do not believe they are the only ones we will see. New, emerging business models such as hardware-as-a-service will grow in popularity and storage-as-a-service providers should see an uptick in market share as well. Lastly, the fragile dynamics of the industry will come under fire even more so in the upcoming year as the threat of a vertical market failure continues to rise. All of these trends, amongst others, will create an interesting upcoming year for the storage industry.

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