Storage gets interesting for IT channel partners
Storage has been a steady, if unspectacular, line of business for many channel partners over the years.
Hard-drive technology emerged from IBM labs in the 1950s, and IBM rivals and independent vendors launched their own products in that category. Direct-attached storage devices were a mainframe-era staple. A roomful of devices, known as a DASD farm, could contain a whopping 50 GB to 60 GB of data in the 1980s. By 1985, IBM launched the 3380 D/E DASD, which provided 5 GB of storage -- the largest capacity for its time, IBM said.
Device capacity and speed increased over time. But the storage landscape became fairly predictable. Hard drives for primary storage and tape for backups remained core elements of enterprise storage for years.
Fast-forward 30 years: The storage market gets a lot more interesting. Today, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) challenges traditional technology. HCI has rapidly emerged as an important part of many partners' portfolios.
HCI deployments are on-premises engagements, but there's also storage happening in the cloud. Cloud storage has existed for some time, but the varieties continue evolving -- among them multi-cloud storage and enterprises migrating file-oriented workloads to the public cloud through vendors such as SoftNAS and Qumulo. Those platforms provide more opportunities for cloud storage resellers.
Data storage locations are changing with the cloud along with the nature of storage devices. Flash technology is entering storage systems, regardless of location or platform. Flash offers speed, but has created additional challenges. The need for data transfer rates that can keep pace with flash has spawned technologies such as nonvolatile memory express -- and created more to monitor.
These developments create an opening for managed service providers and cloud storage resellers and other channel firms. Companies informed on storage can find consulting work among customers facing unfamiliar territory. Read on to gain insight into storage developments and how to help customers navigate a vastly more complex set of technologies.