Cloud computing will be a key driver of net new IT spending over the next five years as public cloud service providers and the adopters of private cloud environments invest in the supporting infrastructure, according to a forecast from IDC. Overall spending by public cloud service providers on storage hardware, software, and professional services will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6 percent from 2010 to 2015, while enterprise spending on storage for the private cloud will experience a CAGR of 28.9 percent. By 2015, combined spending for public and private cloud storage will be $22.6 billion worldwide.
The IDC report said the most significant driver of storage consumption over the past three years has been the emergence of public cloud-based application and infrastructure providers. Many of these cloud-based service providers (iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook) act as content depots, which are primarily in the business of gathering, organizing and providing access to large quantities of digital content.
Meanwhile, other cloud-based service providers have emerged with a focus on delivering IT infrastructure and applications in an "as a service" model (Salesforce.com, WebEx Connect, Amazon Web Services). Over the past several years, these companies have undertaken massive storage buildouts as they have expanded their service offerings, entered new markets, and extended their geographic reach.
"Despite current economic uncertainties, IDC expects cloud service providers - both public and private - to be among the most expansive spenders on IT products and services as they continue to build out their facilities worldwide and expand their service options," said Richard Villars, vice president of storage systems and executive strategies at IDC.
In parallel to the expansion of the public cloud, many organizations have started to deploy their own private clouds for application, compute, and content (archival) storage. Some of these private cloud deployments (government and research sites) are comparable in scope and complexity to public cloud environments, while others are more limited in scope.
Public cloud service providers as well as major adopters of private cloud environments have five information requirements that are driving their current storage demands, including enabling more efficient delivery of information/applications to Internet-based customers, reducing upfront infrastructure investment levels, minimizing internal IT infrastructure investment associated with unpredictable workloads lowering and/or distributing the ongoing costs associated with long-term archiving of information and enabling near-continuous, real-time analysis of large volumes and wide varieties of big data.
"The challenge facing the storage industry will be to balance public cloud service providers' demand for low-cost hardware while boosting demand for advanced software solutions in areas such as object-based storage, automated data tiering, Big Data processing, and advanced archiving services," Villars said. "Big Data developments will be perhaps the most critical new marketplace for storage solutions providers in the coming decade. Providing a strong portfolio of complete Big Data solutions - hardware, software, and implementation services - will be a high priority to succeed. Similarly, a strong portfolio of active archival storage solutions will be a critical differentiator for private content/archive cloud deployments."