ESF Survey Shows Cloud, HDDs Still Dominate IT Storage

Trend continues: IT managers—responsible for collecting, maintaining, protecting and storing corporate data within their budgetary constraints—are looking more and more to subscription cloud services to secure and store corporate business content.

Data storage and humans have something important in common: The places where they live are almost always the highest-cost line item in their budgets.

Buying a home or condominium can take up from 25 percent to 50 percent (or more) of a household income; data storage long has averaged about 40 percent of an enterprise’s yearly IT fiscal outlay. Data, files, logs, images and everything else have to have a place to live, and digital real estate—like a home with a yard—isn’t cheap.

This is, of course, unless the data owner “rents” a place for the enterprise’s business files to live; things then can become a lot more affordable. This is precisely what’s happening here in 2018, as IT managers—responsible for collecting, maintaining, protecting and storing corporate data within their budgetary constraints—are looking more and more to subscription cloud services to secure and store corporate business content.

No Hardware to Acquire

First of all, cloud storage doesn’t need expensive hardware servers, arrays and routers to buy, maintain and upgrade. Secondly, it doesn’t need full-time maintenance staff; clouds generally provide excellent storage service and security. Thirdly, when software upgrades and security patch management need to happen, the cloud provider does all of that.

Data stored in a cloud service—such as AWS, Azure, Google or Salesforce—is generally accessible from any sanctioned member of the company on demand, as needed. All an employee needs are the access codes to obtain whatever file or files are required. No need to make a trip to a physical location to get anything.

Enterprise Storage Forum's 2018 Data Storage Trends survey, published this week, clearly sees this trend and provides essential data points for storage professionals. The survey results offer insight on budgeting, buying decisions and hiring trends, along with a portrait of how competing storage technologies are supporting ever-increasing data workloads.

The survey reveals that not only has cloud seen wide adoption since AWS's Simple Storage Service (S3) became available in 2006, it has become the dominant storage medium for storage, reflecting a generational shift. The survey also shows how NAND flash media adoption has surged while prices have fallen, yet traditional hard disk drives continue to maintain a significant storage load—contradicting the “flash is taking over” hype.

No Shortage of Files to Store

Turns out that there’s so much new data being created, collected and stored, that all types of storage media are needed to encompass it all. This includes both new media (solid-state) and older media (disk drives and tape). There’s plenty of data to go around for all vendors in this business.

Additionally, because there is a constant need to invest in storage given today’s data-intensive environment, the survey shows that it’s a rare company that plans to decrease storage budget. Among the survey’s data points:

  • Cloud Dominates, HDD Tops SSD: Even as the survey shows competing emerging technologies such as software defined storage and flash gaining adoption, the clear winner is cloud, with 68 percent respondents reporting cloud usage. This clearly tops the second most prevalent, hard disk drive, at 58 percent. Future buying expectations will extend cloud dominance, the survey noted.
  • Key Reasons for Purchasing: Cost vs. Performance: The survey reveals the major challenge that companies face in building storage platforms capable of handling today’s intense workloads. The most popular key quality that respondents look for in new technology purchases is a statistical tie between “performance” and “cost savings,” at 72 percent and 71 percent, respectively. Other leading buying factors included “greater scalability” and “security,” which tied at 50 percent.
  • Two Major Pain Points: High Costs and Aging Gear: Survey respondents indicated that their biggest challenge in operating their current storage infrastructure is a mix of “high costs” and “aging gear.” This demonstrates that while hardware needs a refresh–and businesses realize this–companies face a significant struggle with the high costs of maintaining today’s storage infrastructure.

Research Methodology

In total, 374 global IT professionals were queried in the Data Storage Trends 2018 survey, with titles varying widely, from Senior Manager, Director, Vice President, C-Level and Owner. The survey was administered online between July 2018 to August 2018.

To view a copy of the report, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...