My first job after college was selling used HP-UX and MPE servers. Back then, small 8 user servers cost 10’s of thousands of dollars with the bulk of it being tied to software licenses that were tied to the motherboard. I entered the market as windows servers were just getting popular and starting to take over the industry (at least until Linux really hit.) The philosophy began to shift from having one big investment in an incredibly stable server to being willing to tolerate the occasional blue screen in order to save a ton of capital, even with having a hot spare on the shelf.
I believe we’re now at a similar inflection point in the storage space. Rather than spending big to keep your data in a billion dollar data center on new high end storage equipment, technology has evolved to allow us to minimize the significance of hardware to keeping your data safe and persistent. This enables a whole new economic math for storage which is critical as the world generates more and more data, and the natural resources required to manufacture data storage solutions becomes more and more scarce.
Distributed cloud storage allows you to distribute individually useless chunks of your data on so many different storage devices distributed around the world that hardware failure becomes an insignificant risk. The architecture expects hardware to fail and performance isn’t affected at all. We’re approaching a sea change in the data storage industry, and we’re all going to be better for it.