Insights into 2020: Q&A with storage executives

April 27, 2020 //By Laurie Iwami
Western Digital executives discuss what trends they expect to see in the storage arena in 2020.

As we enter a new decade, the amount and diversity of data is growing at an unprecedented pace. The storage industry ecosystem is working together to support this influx of data and emerging workloads with new paradigms in infrastructure, architectures and devices.

I sat down with several of our top executives to talk about what they expect to see in 2020. Here’s what Siva Sivaram, president of Technology & Strategy, Phil Bullinger, senior vice president and general manager of Western Digital’s Data Center business unit, and Yusuf Jamal, senior vice president of Western Digital’s Devices business unit had to say.

We know data is growing in our increasingly connected world, but what kind of data is driving growth in the IoT/IIoT?

Sivaram: In 2020, non-mobile edge applications—from medical, automotive, industry, smart cities, airports, and more—will continue growing rapidly. Due to this increase in connected devices driven by 5G and IoT/IIoT, machine-generated data will begin to surpass human-generated data as the fastest-growing data source. IIoT and natural streaming data (video, AI/ML datasets, etc.) will contribute to the largest share of growth, driving the need for new at-scale, TCO-optimized data-center architectures that help IT and business leaders efficiently store, manage, and monetize the value of their data.

You mention AI/ML…with the rise in artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) specifically, what’s ahead to support these new workloads?

Sivaram: In 2020, we will see a proliferation of customized AI chips hitting the market, and as a result, almost every vertical will begin to tap into the power of AI/ML.

Billions of dollars have been spent over the past few years to develop AI chips customized for specific workloads, such as facial recognition, natural language processing, network security, robotics, and automation. With RISC-V and other open-source technologies further lowering the barriers to purpose-built innovation, an influx of these customized AI semiconductor building blocks will be available in 2020, enabling systems designers to make AI/ML even more prolific across a variety of vertical industries, such as smart homes and cities, automotive, retail, healthcare, and telecommunications.

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