- By 2012, 75% of enterprise IT organizations will have implemented strategic data reduction initiatives designed to reclaim wasted storage space and eliminate unwanted data.
- By 2011, 70% of commercial organizations will be using cloud computing in the form of cloud infrastructure or Software-as-a-Service.
In their quest to reduce the cost and complexity of managing the explosive growth of information, enterprises of all sizes are seeking integrated solution suites and services to meet their needs. Many companies are experiencing the doubling of their unstructured data repositories every 18 months, and some firms are questioning their ability to keep up with their added storage requirements from a CAPEX or capacity management standpoint.
Knowledge Mining, Discovery Driving Storage Growth
At the same time, business and IT users across a number of industries including, biopharma, finance, high-tech manufacturing, media, medical records, and government agencies of every ilk are looking to exploit newer, more innovative technologies (in-house, hosted and hybrid) that will supply them with the tools to manage or mine their information more effectively. Business drivers include:
- Ediscovery for litigation in the financial industry,
- Digital asset management for the motion picture industry,
- Records management and data mining for clinical trials,
- Car manufacturing design concept testing, customer satisfaction records,
- Predictive analytics for cancer research accessing large database of images,
- Shared DB for monitoring suspicious activities for the NSA, FBI, and CIA,
- Converting paper to electronic archives.
Integration is Key
In addition, many users are reluctant to purchase standalone or point solutions regardless of how good the technology might be, as they prefer to push the integration costs and headaches over to the vendor. With this in mind, every major vendor and solutions provider from EMC, Hitachi, HP and IBM to Amazon, Dell, and Google is busy developing and rolling out new cloud computing or storage solutions, acquiring products to compliment their portfolios and establishing partnerships to help meet customer needs all while maintaining their efforts in the thought leadership wars.
Next Generation Storage Capabilities and Lower Costs
With the commoditization of raw storage solutions that utilize SATA or other inexpensive disk arrays, pricing is down sharply - in many cases below $1/GB on high volume purchases. Meanwhile, next generation storage features and functionality such as compliance, data protection, deduplication, encryption, multi-tenancy, and replication paired with massive scalability, reliability, ease of use, and security features, such as authentication or WORM, have made both public and private cloud storage solutions very attractive for the above use cases, where primary storage is not a necessity and, based on the size of the data repositories, very likely cost prohibitive.
Innovation From Emerging Vendors
As is the case with the introduction of any new computing modality, much of the innovation comes from small, nimble firms with patented IP that have established key partnerships to offer customers more points of integration and boost buyer confidence. One such company in the cloud storage space is Permabit, which offers highly scalable, redundant inexpensive storage suitable for, as an example, archiving large volumes of unstructured data. Permabit is also building partnerships with companies such as Atempo, DataGlobal and Mezeo, that respectively offer advanced archiving solutions, highly scalable data management services, and a cloud storage deployment platform. Symplified is another emerging vendor in the cloud computing space that provides an access management system purposely built for the cloud architectures of SaaS and has a partnership with Google to provide advanced security and compliance management capabilities for Google Apps
There are at least 3 key factors compelling users to adopt cloud computing solutions over the next 2 to 3 years: The need to reduce the cost of delivering IT infrastructures to support business critical applications, the desire to off-load the time expended integrating point solutions to a service provider in order to free up development and support assets to work on projects that create business value, and the desire to take advantage of the innovations and core competencies of cloud computing vendors that are not easily replicated in the enterprise.
Action Item: (s)
Vendors need to fill functionality gaps and limit the number of point solutions they deliver to customers by providing better product integration and service as well as delivering on next generation capabilities - whether this be through new product development, partnerships, or acquisition. Vendors also need to overcome buyer reluctance due to concerns about data governance and security issues.
Due to the huge amount of hype surrounding the Cloud, users must carefully select cloud computing partners that have clearly demonstrated an ability to deliver on the promise of lower cost, reduced complexity, and improved service. Buyers should selectively review and conduct proof-of-concepts (POCS) with established vendors with which they have trusted relationships and with up-and-coming firms that can demonstrate product leadership, have the ability to support the user's environment, and will guarantee the disposition and protection of the user's information assets to reduce potential risks.