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IDC forecasts rapid growth in software-defined storage market

Tue 3 Oct 2017

The software-defined storage (SDS) market is expected to grow significantly in the next four years, according to a new report by IDC.

Research house International Data Corporation notes that enterprise storage choices have already started to shy away from hardware-defined choices towards SDS, as well as from on-premises infrastructure towards the cloud – either public or private.

However, it believes that SDS is gaining traction as it meets demands of the next-generation data centre much more effectively than legacy storage infrastructure. Thanks to this increased traction, IDC forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5% across the 2017-2021 period.

This increase would equate to global revenues of around $16.2 billion (approx. £12.2 billion) in 2021. IDC analysts attribute this growth to SDS solutions’ ability to deliver key storage functionality in software, as well as improved agility, including quicker provisioning, and the ability to lower costs through autonomous storage management.

Commenting on the advantages of SDS for businesses trying to push digital transformation, IDC storage research director Eric Burgener said: “SDS provides a good match for the capabilities needed – flexible IT agility; easier, more intuitive administration driven by the characteristics of autonomous storage management; and lower capital costs due to the use of commodity and off-the-shelf hardware.

“As these features appear more on buyers’ lists of purchase criteria, enterprise storage revenue will continue to shift toward SDS.”

The research identifies three important segments within the SDS market – file, object, and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). IDC believes that all of these are growing quickly thanks to next-generation data centre requirements, but attributes the greatest predicted growth to HCI, estimating CAGR across the same period of 26.6% compared to 13.5% across the entire SDS market.

According to IDC, all of the major enterprise storage systems providers have committed to the HCI market in a major way over the past 18 months. This means it has been a very busy period of mergers and acquisitions in the HCI market as providers look to alleviate storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) losses through the shift in enterprise towards SDS solutions.


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