By Marc Staimer
It's that time of the year again -- time to look at predictions for next year's hottest data storage technologies. But before we do, let's look at how we did at predicting last year's small- to medium-sized business (SMB) data storage technology trends.
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- Cloud backup and recovery will be the fastest growing of all SMB backup alternatives. Per Gartner, IDC and the 451, cloud backup and recovery represented more than 98% of cloud storage.
- Cloud archiving will be a serious competitive alternative for SMB users. This one was a bit off, however, cloud email archiving is growing.
- SMB users will drive a lot of cloud-based storage indirectly. The rapid growth of cloud backup and recovery, and the exponential growth of Google and Microsoft online services make this an unqualified yes.
- Data deduplication will be bigger in SMB backup software than specialized appliances or storage. This one is a mixed bag. There's an equal appetite for dedupe target storage appliances as well as data deduplication built into most SMB backup software. The continued success of EMC Corp. Data Domain, plus growth of Quantum Corp. and Exagrid Systems, as well as the introductions of Symantec Corp.'s low-cost appliance means that hardware appliances won't necessarily give up the market quietly.
- Server virtualization will increase in SMB environments. This depends on the definition of small business. Larger SMBs have definitely moved into server virtualization; small business adoption rates are picking up but in lower increments.
- Primary storage data reduction will become more important. Sure, primary storage data reduction is important. Unfortunately, most primary storage deduplication and compression tools don't reduce primary storage all that much. They have limited effect on already compressed files. The requirements are there, but it requires different technology.
- More data storage will be bought and implemented. This was a cheap one.
- Unified storage will exceed NAS, SAN, or DAS sales. The numbers do not agree … yet. The trend is there.
- The cost of simplifying data storage management will decline. Costing trends are moving in the right direction, albeit not as much as hoped.
- 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) for storage will become common. 10 GbE is more common than it was, but that's not saying much since the install base was so small.
Now, here's at look at our predictions for 2011's hottest SMB data storage technologies.
About the author: Marc Staimer is the founder, senior analyst, and CDS of Dragon Slayer Consulting in Beaverton, OR. The consulting practice of more than 12 years has focused in the areas of strategic planning, product development and market development. With more than 30 years of marketing, sales and business experience in infrastructure, storage, server, software and virtualization, he's considered one of the industry's leading experts. Marc can be reached at email@example.com.