As has been the case for more than a decade, the data storage business is so healthy that it literally has to work overtime to keep up with the ever-increasing demand from the world's content creators.
Those content creators are just about everybody you see. Anybody with a camera on a phone, tablet or other portal device is a video and/or sound content creator, and, if the content is going to be saved, it's going to be stored in a device or in the cloud on someone else's device.
That takes capacity on spinning disk drive, solid-state drive or tape, which is the name of this business game.
Hottest Sub-sector: Entertainment Media Storage
One of the hottest sub-sectors within this sizzling market is storage for professional creative media, such as feature films, documentaries, corporate videos, television shows and music videos. Higher-quality video, such as high-definition and super-high definition, which takes up more than double the space of regular video, is a major cause of this jump.
The news angle here is an annual report published this week by researcher Coughlin Associates, which projects the media storage market to virtually double in the next five years -- from $3.8 billion to $6.4 billion in revenue, and from 11 exabytes (EB) to 62EB in capacity.
That's right, exabytes -- a million trillion bytes.
"Digital storage requirements are exploding due to use of higher resolution and stereoscopic content in the media and entertainment industry," lead researcher Tom Coughlin wrote in the report. "Active archiving will drive increased use of HDD storage for 'archiving' applications supplementing tape for long-term archives."
So that's good news for the spinning disk drive industry, which has taken hits lately due to increasing sales of solid-state-driven connected tablet PCs.
Coughlin's report includes results from a late 2010 survey of mostly members of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) on their digital storage needs in these target segments, and compared the results to a similar 2009 survey.
Other highlights from Coughlin's report:
- Flash memory will find wider use in cameras and content distribution.
- Between 2011 and 2016, expect the media and entertainment industry to see about a 7.7X increase in the required digital storage capacity and about a 5.6X growth in storage capacity shipments per year (from 11,248PB to 62,736PB).
- About 57 percent of the total storage capacity will be used for content archiving and preservation in 2011. Coughlin believes this will increase to 60 percent of total capacity by 2016 due to more efficient and cost-effective conversion services, lower overall storage costs and a greater ROI on long tail content.
- In 2011, Coughlin estimates that about 43.6 percent of the total storage media shipped for all the digital entertainment content segments was tape with about 39.1 percent HDD, 17.1 percent optical and 0.2 percent flash memory (mostly in digital cameras and some media distribution servers).
- The single biggest application (by storage capacity) for digital storage in the next several years as well as one of the most challenging is the digital conversion of film, video tape and other analog formats.
The "2011 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report" is available now. Coughlin himself will give some summary information from the report as part of his introduction to the 2011 Creative Storage Conference June 28, 2011, in Culver City, Calif.