The storage and backup landscape has gone through major changes this year, some due to economics, some to cyberthreats, and some to modernization.
Three trends stood out. First, the threat of ransomware continued shape the offerings of backup and storage vendors. Second, many organizations reevaluated how they distributed workloads between cloud and on-premises storage. Finally, container adoption heated up.
Vendors Became More Serious About Ransomware
Now that 2022 is drawing to a close, it’s official: Backup and storage continue to be attractive ransomware bait for hackers. A clear sign that ransomware remains a dilemma is how vendors actively added new features to their products to thwart hackers. Vendors also began offering guarantees of ransomware recovery to customers.
Backup and recovery vendor Rubrik led the charge of ransomware recovery warranties, promising to reimburse companies up to $5 million for its Enterprise Edition and Cloud Vault products as long as customers follow the rules. Other vendors have since followed, including Druva and AvePoint.
The fact that backup companies now provide ransomware recovery warranties is a sign that ransomware protection is now table stakes for companies, said Brent Ellis, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.
And it’s not just backup vendors. While storage vendors have stopped short of offering guarantees (at least for now), they have begun adding ransomware detection into their storage systems. In addition, they have built in workflows that use storage snapshots to recover from ransomware before it gets to the backup phase. Dell, for example, announced in May that it will build in workflows that use snapshots. Other vendors, including Pure Storage, IBM, and TrueNAS SCALE, have also addressed ransomware in major ways.
In all these cases, these additions can drastically reduce the response time for mass encryption events. “That’s a big deal, because it means there is less time for a particular piece of malware to propagate across the network, and it limits the blast radius,” Ellis said.
On-premises vs. in the Cloud
The twin trends of increased cloud adoption and economic belt-tightening led to another 2022 storage shift: a re-evaluation of what actually belongs in the cloud and what doesn’t.
It’s really about the costs versus benefits, said Dan Kogan, a vice president at Pure Storage.
“It turns out that renting over a long time is more expensive than buying, and companies are realizing that they are probably going to keep more things on-premises than they initially thought,” Kogan said.
For workloads already in the cloud, Kogan expects companies to look more at cost reduction than relocating those workloads back to on-premises storage.
Adopting containers isn’t new in 2022, but it has definitely grown significantly.
Organizations today use containers for many purposes, from DevOps to running microservices, software processes, or large applications. The issue, Kogan explained, is that backing up containers is different from backing up virtual machines. He expects that storage and backup products built for containers will outperform others. That’s why companies like Pure Storage and Veeam have invested heavily in small startups that provide backup and storage specifically for containers, he said.
In fact, many storage vendors have added support for containers so organizations can run container workloads directly on the storage system. In addition, both storage and backup vendors have been adding granular support for Kubernetes workloads that enable companies to back up and restore individual applications within a Kubernetes cluster.
“Before, there were a few backup vendors that backed up Kubernetes natively and did it to well, but this year, pretty much everyone else added some sort of native container backup capability with regard to storage,” Ellis said. “This is the year where container support became a table stakes feature for storage and backup, whereas last year, it was a differentiating feature.”
Ellis said he expects further development in this area during 2023, especially for some types of storage that aren’t often used with containers, like block storage.
Further Reading About Storage and Backup in 2022