Optimal Drive Technology

How software ushered in a new age of data storage (Part 1)

Author : Federica Monsone, A3 Communications

12 February 2024

Here we explore the drivers behind the evolution of software, its game-changing capabilities, its challenges, and how far along organisations are in realising the full potential of software over hardware in the data storage industry. We asked a number of industry influencers and vendors for their views, culminating in a future outlook of software in data storage. 

With data increasingly stored in cloud-based architectures or in off-prem locations, discussions that once purely focused on data storage hardware have notably shifted towards software. This includes software-defined storage, software managing virtualisation, and automation capabilities utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) integration to improve storage optimisation. 

Drivers behind the evolution of software in data storage

Federica Monsone, founder and CEO, A3 Communications
Federica Monsone, founder and CEO, A3 Communications

Software in data storage is clearly a mainstay today, but what were the catalysts triggering its development? Expert opinions across the industry reveal a variety of disparate factors coalesced to drive the adoption of data storage software. 

According to Randy Kerns, Senior Strategist and Analyst at Futurum Group, “The trend of software in data storage initially arose from a perception that savings could be made utilising commodity hardware.” He adds, “Interestingly, data services in software were not an initial consideration and developed over time. The evolution drivers continue to be simplicity, stability/reliability, advanced data services, and support/managed services option.” 

Randy Kerns, Senior Strategist and Analyst at Futurum Group
Randy Kerns, Senior Strategist and Analyst at Futurum Group

Alexander Ivanyuk, Senior Director, Technology, at Acronis agrees, “Convenience and cost are the drivers behind software evolution. Traditional storage is a monolithic bundle of hardware and software. You depend on this hardware and quite often on software that may only work with this hardware. Software-defined storage (SDS) allows abstract storage resources from the underlying hardware platform and that results in greater flexibility, efficiency, and scalability.” 

Alexander Ivanyuk, Senior Director, Technology, Acronis
Alexander Ivanyuk, Senior Director, Technology, Acronis

Another major driver in the development of software in data storage is, of course, the emergence of cloud and hybrid infrastructure. As Fred Lherault, Field CTO, EMEA and Emerging Markets, Pure Storage, tells A3 Communications, “Almost every customer in the world uses hybrid infrastructure these days and that’s a big driver in terms of changes in software development and deployment.” Enrico Signoretti, VP of Product and Partnerships, Cubbit, agrees: “Everything is now about having the same platform on different clouds and on-prem. Enabling users to move data and access it where/when/how they need it.” 

Enrico Signoretti, VP of Product and Partnerships, Cubbit
Enrico Signoretti, VP of Product and Partnerships, Cubbit


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