Monday, September 17, 2012

Storage Networking Market to Reach $24.3 billion by 2018

It is projected to reach $24.3 billion by 2018, primarily driven by digital data explosion and the resulting need for efficient data storage infrastructure among enterprises. Adoption of server virtualization and robust demand from developing markets, AsiaPac in particular, also augurs well for the future of this market.

In this information driven world, the volume of data being generated electronically is exploding at a robust pace. The digital era, which ushered in a new age of electronic data capture, has made it easy for all, including private companies, government agencies and individuals to capture, browse, store and share information, thereby leaving an enormous data trail. Private companies in particular, have been major contributors to this information explosion, creating huge volumes of data on their customers and other business partners, while simultaneously generating equally huge volumes of transactional data as they sell a product or a service.

Widespread implementation of CRM and ERP solutions have contributed towards enterprise data explosion by triggering exponential growth in the volume of information generated about partners, suppliers and customers.

However, securely storing such huge amounts of data remains a key challenge for companies, which can longer be met by conventional storage devices such as DVDs, flash drives and CD, among others. And built to address these challenges are storage networks wherein multiple types of storage devices are connected to data servers on a LAN network for faster sharing of stored data among a larger base of users.

As a technology designed to allow computers to share massive volumes across high-speed LAN networks, storage networking is the future of modern IT storage needs. As storage needs cross the boundaries of traditional storage technologies/techniques, innovations in storage networking technologies, such as, FCoE, iSCSI and IB, SAS), among others, are poised to gain.

Entertainment and healthcare industries are the primary contributors for growth in the global storage networking market. The explosion of data in these industries is bringing out these two industries as lucrative adopters of storage networking technologies. One of the key factors cited for increased demand for storage networking technologies from the entertainment industry is the increased data generation as a result of proliferation of broadband Internet and data intensive internet related activities. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter for instance, require huge amounts of user data to be stored and hence its opportunities galore for storage networking technologies in backend datacenters run by these social networking giants. In the healthcare industry, the mounting pressure to archive ever increasing volumes of medical data is forcing hospitals to adopt storage networking technologies. With increasing importance attached to maintenance of patient related data, medical archiving is projected to offer a banquet of opportunities for storage networking industry.

Adoption of cost rationalizing technologies such as server virtualization will additionally help boost market prospects for storage networking in the upcoming years. Server virtualization has been championing the virtualization drive in the enterprise sector over the last couple of years and has become a key strategy within the much bigger virtualization portfolio that enables several emerging technologies such as SaaS, Green IT and Service-oriented architecture (SOA). Against this backdrop, storage networking technologies are poised to emerge into the greatest beneficiary, since centralization of servers will now require storage to be more networked and distributed. The importance of storage architectural choices in a virtualized environment can be thrown into perspective by the fact that these technology choices influence immensely the performance of VMs. In a virtualized environment, reliability, scalability, efficiency and most importantly speed of the storage technology are critical and this regard storage networking technologies are poised to score the highest gains. Ethernet and IP storage protocols and the converged network environment benefits they offer have and will continue to emerge as technologies of choice in cloud deployments and in virtual environments.

With regard to technology shifts underway in the storage networking industry, IP based storage networking technologies represent the future of storage. With the world now transitioning to an all IP-based system and networks be it metropolitan, LAN, WAN or MAN, the current trend, not surprisingly is the convergence of the IP networking technology with data storage. Four of the most compelling benefits offered by IP networks is cost efficiency, interoperability, manageability and easy anytime, anywhere access to stored data. IP technologies are playing on the drawbacks of conventional SAN that includes complexity, high costs, and interoperability issues, to gain the initial head start. IP based storage protocols are already gaining in preference in data center deployments and the future is poised to witness significant skewing of end-user preferences for IP, since future proofing storage network infrastructure mandates a serious consideration of IP storage and Ethernet protocols. FCoE especially is supported over a 10GbE network through which an existing FC infrastructure can be accessed.

Key factors expected to drive Ethernet-based technologies to the forefront of future growth in the storage networking space is the already laid-out roadmap for faster performance and speeds of Ethernets ranging from 40 to 100Gbps as against the slated 16 to 32Gbps roadmap for FC. Finally, a corporate storage environment is at its heart a shared resource, and shared network platform like Ethernet under this scenario holds particular significance.

As stated by the market research, North America represents the largest regional market accounting for a major share in global revenue. AsiaPac represents the fastest growing market, with annual revenue and storage capacity shipments waxing at a CAGR 9.8% and 38.2%, respectively, over the analysis period. SAN market represents the largest segment accounting for a majority share in global revenue as well as in total capacity shipped.

Major players in the marketplace include Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Coraid, Inc., Cutting Edge Networked Storage, Dell, Inc., EMC Corporation, Emulex Corporation, Hewlett-Packard company, International Business Machines Corporation, LSI Corporation, NetApp, Inc., NETGEAR, Inc., Nexsan Technologies, Inc., Overland Storage, Inc., and QLogic Corporation.