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What’s certain in life?  Death, taxes. . . and continued data growth.

That’s an amusing thought I heard from Garth Landers, Research Director at Gartner, who presented The Storage Scenario for Midsize Organizations in a webinar last week.  Providing a thought-provoking outlook on the storage industry, Garth discussed the following topics:

  • How storage is becoming more agile and elastic.
  • What cloud and SaaS mean for IT’s storage plans.
  • The growing importance of data management and thoughts on how to control storage growth.

Following are some notes and thoughts on what Garth had to say.

Defensible deletion is a myth

Yes, it is safe to say continued data growth is here to stay.  Garth called out a key contributing factor: We are all data hoarders.  We either think our data is too important or that our time is too important to spend cleaning house.  And with data volumes going up we see data protection, eDiscovery and data security becoming more onerous.

The era of scarce resources

We’ve all heard the meme that demand for storage is outpacing IT budgets.  Garth forecasts a 3-6% growth in mid-market IT budgets over the next 5 years.  Some organizations are seeing storage dominate their IT budgets, and we all know storage growth rates are much higher than 10% annually.  So with this dynamic we should expect to place more value on storage capacity, right?  Unlikely.  I think we’ll see more emphasis on being creative with how we store data.

Cloud and SaaS

It is no surprise then to see cloud storage and SaaS discussed as the way to resolving dissonance between budgets and demand.  With competition from above and below, mid-sized enterprises are under intense pressure to remain competitive.  This often means needing to operate as a large enterprise, requiring an enterprise-class IT infrastructure.  But these same businesses cannot afford to incur the large enterprise IT costs.

Mid-size businesses can realize huge benefits from the cloud computing model.  And shifting IT budgets from CAPEX to OPEX is also appealing.

Cloud storage gateways

Adoption of Cloud storage gateways (CSGs) by mid-size businesses is on the rise.  I personally think we’ll see the CSG space commoditize rapidly in the years ahead.  I’ve heard they are expensive offerings right now.  And they appear to be very infrastructure-centric in their positioning.  It’ll be interesting to watch the CSG product category.

Software is the focus

When we think about blending backup and archive, intelligently managing copies, or governing data as it moves to the cloud, we have to remember that this is all software we’re talking about.  As we look at storing data in the cloud, software will be how we maximize data’s value, achieve compliance, respond to litigation, prevent leaks, and manage user access.

Into the future

With software being a major factor in the future of storage, the issue of compressed differentiation will be interesting to observe.  For traditional storage companies, it is increasingly difficult to put forward a unique value proposition.  (And if they do, to maintain it for any significant length of time.)

The big storage vendors are being disrupted, and I think we’ll see more innovation in the storage world coming from startups.  We’re talking about a major shift from providing infrastructure to providing services.  It’s disruptive.  It’s needed.  And the team at HubStor is happy to be part of it.

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