Services, cloud dominated data storage news in 2020

The 2020 pandemic changed how — and exactly where — people generate, use and obtain vital get the job done knowledge, prompting the latest storage developments to speed up around subscription pricing and cloud expert services.

With a great deal of the workforce retreating to households and processes driven exterior the knowledge centre in 2020, storage distributors place their cloud techniques on warp pace. For suppliers whose bread and butter has been on-premises storage arrays, this intended a rapid pivot to usage buying and hybrid cloud abilities.

So although the biggest storage companies could not convert into public clouds, they at minimum set out to offer their clients cloud-like buying experiences. This development was not new, but the biggest storage distributors approached it with a lot more urgency in 2020. And the force to expert services and cloud dominated knowledge storage news for the year.

Serving up storage: Apex, Keystone take centre phase

Dell Systems and NetApp created new as-a-assistance plans the focal factors of their 2020 person conferences, which went electronic this year. NetApp broke its Keystone Capex design into Keystone Flex Pay for businesses that want traditional leasing solutions, and Keystone Flex Membership for these who want to use the same pay back design as their public cloud of decision.

Dell countered with Undertaking Apex, an infrastructure-as-a-assistance initiative that will kick off by supplying the all-Dell EMC storage and knowledge expert services on desire in 2021. Dell’s approach is to inevitably allow for clients to order any of its expert services through its Cloud Console portal.

In the meantime, HPE pushed forward with its GreenLake every little thing-as-a-assistance tactic, and Pure Storage wonderful-tuned Pure-as-a-Support by enabling clients to control workloads to storage tiers and manages expert services.

All storage distributors ongoing incorporating cloud as well, to the position exactly where you won’t be able to discover a storage seller without “hybrid cloud” in its item description. NetApp created a few acquisitions to beef up its cloud abilities although continuing to lover with the major public cloud providers as part of its “cloud-very first, flash-accelerated” tactic.

Info protection distributors ongoing to embrace the cloud, both equally for backup and catastrophe recovery. Even HPE bought into the act, making use of its virtual Find clearly show to start HPE Cloud Volumes Backup. The target is to aid knowledge protection for workloads making use of public cloud compute. The require for SaaS backup also elevated, owing mainly to the expansion of Microsoft 365 and the realization that cloud providers really don’t offer crafted-in protection for SaaS apps.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) distributors repositioned their programs as hybrid cloud infrastructure pillars. Even hyper-converged infrastructure pioneer Nutanix referred to HCI as hybrid cloud infrastructure, and Dell EMC made available up its VxRail HCI know-how, which uses the VMware Cloud Foundation software stack on a subscription foundation.

Kubernetes keeps coming

The storage planet stepped up the speed for getting ready for Kubernetes in 2020 with considerable investments. Pure Storage paid out $370 million for container-native storage startup Portworx. Backup seller Veeam obtained Kasten for $a hundred and fifty million. NetApp turned cloud knowledge management software gained in its Location acquisition into expert services to summary compute and cloud storage scenarios for Kubernetes deployments. IBM-owned Crimson Hat crafted help for external Kubernetes clusters into OpenShift Container Storage.

Backup distributors also scrambled to increase Kubernetes knowledge protection to their stacks. Moreover Veeam’s acquisition, Catalogic, CommVault, Druva, Trilio and Zerto created considerable enhancements in this location, and container backup is a important emphasis between all knowledge protection distributors.

Corporate comings and goings

The year was appealing for storage executives, partly — but not entirely — mainly because of COVID-19. HPE CEO Antonio Neri and Pure Storage CEO Charlie Giancarlo contracted and recovered from the virus. HPE changed storage typical manager Milan Shetti with Tom Black. IBM storage GM Ed Walsh still left for startup ChaosSearch in August, and IBM vet Denis Kennelly moved into Walsh’s old position.

The VMware-Nutanix HCI rivalry also created knowledge storage news headlines in 2020. Nutanix founder Dheeraj Pandey retired as CEO. He said it was mainly because COVID-19 changed his priorities, while his departure coincided with a $750 million investment decision from Bain Money. Nutanix hired Rajiv Ramaswami from its HCI rival VMware to change Pandey, and VMware countered by suing Ramaswami for breach of contract.

Backup seller Veeam also changed CEOs next its sale to personal equity organization Perception Ventures. William Largent returned to the CEO position that he held in 2016-17 to change founder Andrei Baranov.

The fall in revenue throughout the storage sector prompted some really hard economical conclusions from CEOs. Dell, NetApp, Pure Storage, HPE and Nutanix all had layoffs or furloughs to minimize fees.

Backup would make for incredibly hot acquisition concentrate on

Info protection, Kubernetes storage and knowledge protection for Kubernetes accounted for most of the considerable storage mergers and acquisitions in 2020.

Perception Ventures bought managing interest in Veeam in a offer that put the backup vendor’s valuation at $5 billion and prompted its founders to phase down from entire-time roles. Google bought copy knowledge management pioneer Actifio, Veeam picked up Kubernetes backup seller Kasten, and VMware bought Datrium for $137 million for its DRaaS. Pure moved into Kubernetes storage by grabbing Portworx, which consists of Kubernetes backup in its item suite.

The most highly-priced storage offer of 2020 concerned NAND flash. SK Hynix paid out $9 billion for Intel’s memory group, while Intel held on to its Optane storage class memory know-how.

What about on-premises storage?

With all the emphasis on expert services and constructing out cloud abilities, it was barely a banner year for on-premises merchandise between knowledge storage news. Dell EMC PowerStore was the most considerable start. Dell EMC at last bought its new flagship midrange storage array out the doorway in Might next a number of delays.

Dell executives see PowerStore — which consolidates a number of midrange arrays — as the important to regaining share in that market place segment. But that sales bump unsuccessful to materialize in 2020. Dell’s storage revenue ongoing to fall year-around-year immediately after the PowerStore start, which Dell COO Jeff Clarke blamed on bad midrange sales.

A further considerable SAN start concerned the cloud, as AWS included EBS io2 Block Categorical volumes at re:Invent 2020. Amazon calls Block Categorical volumes “a SAN for the cloud” and claimed overall performance of up to 256,000 IOPS and four,000 MBps — 4 times common io2 volumes.

NVMe drives ended up a ongoing emphasis for storage distributors, expanding into NAS, HCI and storage for Kubernetes for overall performance gains.