IDC: Storage Archiving Is the Place to Be

IDC released some preliminary figures for the Western European storage software market at the conference, with archiving and HSM way out in front as the growth leaders.

In Western Europe for 2007, the analyst said the storage software market was worth $3.3 billion, 30 percent of the worldwide market, and is showing a 7.7 percent growth rate, compared with 6 percent for worldwide growth rates.

Carla Arend, program manager, European Storage SW & Services at IDC, said archiving was definitely one of the future markets, particularly for unstructured data. She said unstructured data, such as e-mail, PowerPoint presentations and video is growing at a faster rate than structured data. "Many companies have sought to store their structured data - such as anything they hold on their ERP or CRM databases, but it is the unstructured data that is still a pain point."

She said it is much harder for companies to know what unstructured data needs storing and most firms need to start by doing a full data assessment and put policies in place for each department within the firm. "It is very tricky to know what is an employee's MP3 and what belongs to the marketing department. It is a real challenge for business," she added.

This is why the archiving market is growing at such a rate, because it allows firms to search and find the right data, especially with the growing need to comply with regulations. Archiving is forecast by IDC to grow at a rate of 18.6 percent for the next three years.

IDC also discussed virtualization - the hot topic at CeBIT this year. The impact that server virtualization is having on the storage market is huge, Arend said. Many companies that save money on virtualizing their servers then have to spend that money on upgrading and updating their storage infrastructure.

"This especially affects SMBs, because many of them still run direct attached storage and if they turn to virtualization, they need to update their storage infrastructure to network storage and this can be very costly," she said.

Storage software services have also seen huge growth, according to IDC's preliminary figures. The Western European market grew to $11.7 billion in 2007. This is being driven mainly by storage management, implementation and consulting services.