As we enter a new era of distributed computing — and of big data, in the form of machine and deep learning — storage becomes (even more) important. It might not be sexy, but storage is what makes the internet and cloud computing go round and round: “Without storage, we wouldn’t have databases; without databases, we wouldn’t have big data; we wouldn’t have analytics … we wouldn’t have anything because information needs to be stored, and it needs to be retrieved.” This is especially complicated by the fact that more and more computing is happening at the edge, as with autonomous car sensing.
Clearly, storage is important. But now it’s also undergoing a renaissance as it becomes faster, cheaper, and more in-memory. What does this mean for all the big players in the storage ecosystem? For CIOs and IT departments? For any company competing on data, whether it’s in analyzing it or owning it? And for that matter: What is data, really? Beyond the existential questions, this episode of the a16z Podcast — with a16z partner Peter Levine; Alluxio (formerly Tachyon) founder and CEO Haoyuan Li (“HY”); and storage industry analyst Mike Matchett of The Taneja Group — covers all this and more. It even tries to make storage, er, great again.