A new study points toward significant growth in the storage industry and outlines the key market factors and main players driving that growth.
The study, released by TheInfoPro, a division of analyst and data company The 451 Group, is completed biannually and is based on hourlong interviews with storage professionals and primary decision-makers at large and midsize enterprises in North America.
Networked storage capacity in the F1000 will grow a projected 24 percent this year, with 44 percent of organizations expecting to increase spending and 31 percent anticipating stable spending. The spending projections nearly mirror what was captured for 2010. The study suggests that 2011 will be a year of strong competition for unified storage leadership. Currently, EMC is the lead vendor for Fibre Channel storage, while NetApp is the lead vendor for NAS (network-attached storage).
"The storage market continues to be the best performing-from a spending perspective-of all the IT sectors we cover with our voice-of-the-customer research methodology," said Ken Male, managing director and founder of TheInfoPro. "We have been studying the storage market since 2002, and saw in our latest biannual study that storage expansion is being driven by new application growth-this is an excellent proxy for the health of the companies we interview because it shows that business units are making bets on new projects."
Automated tiering is creating a reason to refresh array technology, which benefits SSD (solid-state disk), the report noted. Both technologies score high in TIP's proprietary Technology Heat Index, which gauges net new implementations by the F1000, detailing the vendors poised to benefit. The report also found the appliance model is gaining interest-it's not yet a trend, but there is increasing discussion of Oracle Exadata, VCE Vblock and other appliances. Additionally, the report noted HP's 3PAR acquisition created excitement, but is not yet translating to increased spending, while SAN is beating NAS for server virtualization capacity and less than one in 10 organizations have plans to use external cloud storage even for lower tiers, including archiving.
The report found virtual server protection choices may threaten traditional backup software solutions. Rather than traditional methods used to protect physical servers, half of the respondents are using snapshots and replication at the storage level. With this in place, those using backup for protection, rather than archiving, can switch or perhaps remove the traditional backup vendors, knowing they have an alternative protection.
"Server virtualization transformed storage architectures, and cloud computing is having the same impact," said Marco Coulter, TheInfoPro's research director of storage. "In this study, we focused on both of these themes, identifying the selection criteria used and the vendors meeting expectations. While all the M&A in 2010 might stifle innovation, the cloud alternatives out there are energizing storage professionals to be creative in delivering services."