The Future of Data Storage
Data is everywhere. In the security industry, there are close to 300 million surveillance cameras churning out billions of hours worth of video. In the smartphone world, 2.1 billion users are generating a constant stream of location data, photos, movies, and more. Even experts are predicting a huge spike in data, with storage needs increasing nearly 25X by the year 2021. It seems that every facet of our life is connected to the internet – from jet engines, to watches, to the tools we use in our everyday routine – with everything needing to be, inevitability, stored somewhere.
The data storage industry has become one of largest – and most vital – sectors in our economy today, with a 30-40% annual growth rate spurring its rate of adoption. The question, however, is who is going to be the beneficiary of all that data growth? Ten years ago, the answer would have been clear: EMC, IBM, Dell, HP, NetApp, and the dozens of other storage server manufacturers that dominated the market at the time. In a recent survey put out by the Eclipse Foundation, however, it was found that companies have increasingly abandoned the privately-managed, on-premise data centers to transition their focus to something easier, more cost efficient, and forward thinking: the cloud. In fact, only 19% of developers told Eclipse that they were storing on-premise, down nearly half from what the numbers looked like two years ago.
So, where does that leave EMC and NetApp? Companies like this need to start thinking about storage as a service rather than a piece of hardware – otherwise they are going to be consigned to only a few niche markets out there. Here’s why:
The Costs Alone Are Astronomical
By transitioning away from on-premise, organizations have the opportunity to save on electricity, data center floor space, technicians to keep things running, and anything else that’s required to maintain such a heavy piece of physical equipment. Given this, you would think that a company like EMC could simply fill one of their data centers with their storage servers and start selling cloud-based services, but their hardware isn’t designed for that. Companies have grown increasingly aware of IT budgets, the upkeep needed for on-premise upgrade cycles, implementation resources, and unforeseen costs that are driving them to consider cloud storage options for the simple reason that they don’t have thousands – or, sometimes millions – of dollars allocated for this anymore.
When Demand Shifts, Supply Shifts
Just like every other industry, the world of data and the products and services pushed out by IoT professionals has essentially created an entirely new demand for how data needs to be stored. With an annual growth rate of nearly 30%, there has been a heightened demand in security concerns, a staggering spike in how much data is actually being produced, and a growing need for a simple, easy to implement solution. And when demand shifts, supply needs to shift. Cloud storage, especially with the innovative new
products on the market today that go beyond Amazon and Microsoft, has started to heavily focus on the protection of data with new security measures – and has become as easy as a few clicks away to install. With the introduction of immutable buckets, companies can also store their data safely with a guarantee that it can’t be accidentally or maliciously deleted – not even by the cloud storage provider. In addition, having all of your data stored in the cloud can provide the kind of file backup that isn’t guaranteed with on-premise solutions.
Cloud Storage Is Changing – Rapidly
The only significant disadvantage of cloud-base storage is a function of the speed of light. If your storage server is in Virginia, and you are in Colorado, the speed of light will limit how fast you can fetch data from storage. So, for some very high-speed applications, like large-scale data analytics, it is better if you have your storage sitting right next to your computer. Sooner or later, however, the core of EVERY business – the photos, medical records, bank transactions, or whatever it is that makes up the foundation of your data – will move to the cloud. And, unless they make some radical changes to its product and culture, it won’t be EMC or NetApp equipment powering that cloud.
By David Friend, CEO of Wasabi Technologies