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In the Zone

Why data storage is moving to the cloud

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 02/14/2019
Blog Category: devices

“How much storage do you want with that?”

“Oh, not much.”

That question? It's one you probably ask clients who are selecting new systems. And that answer? It's one you should be prepared to hear a whole lot more often.

The reason: A lot of data storage is moving to the cloud.

So finds a new report from IDC. The market watcher now predicts that the installed base of storage capacity worldwide will more than double over the next 5 years. But IDC also expects that much of that growth will happen not in business or consumer devices, but in data centers operated by cloud service providers (CSPs).

Billions and billions 

More specifically, IDC today predicted that the worldwide installed base of storage will more than double between 2018 and 2023, when it will reach a mind-boggling 11.7 zettabytes. Don’t ask me how they get that .7. But I do know that each zettabyte represents a sextillion bytes — that’s a 1 followed by 21 zeros!

Last year alone, storage vendors shipped some 700 exabytes of capacity worldwide, IDC estimates. (1 exabyte = 1 billion GB.) That earned those vendors nearly $90 billion — nice work if you can get it.

One curious factoid: Only a percentage or two of all data created or replicated each year gets saved or stored for any period of time, IDC says. The remaining 99% or so gets accessed, crunched and used — and then deleted forever.

Cloudy paths 

So how does IDC figure that much storage growth is happening in the cloud? Two ways.

First, because the installed base of enterprise storage capacity is outpacing that of consumers. What’s that got to do with cloud? Just think about where much of your smartphone data now resides. Like you, many consumers increasingly rely on enterprises — including CSPs — to manage their data.

Second, the installed base of storage capability is growing fastest in those geographical regions where cloud data centers either already exist or are planned for expansion. Mainly, that means the Asia-Pacific region. That's where IDC predicts nearly 40% of the world’s storage capability in 2023 will be found.

Wondering why device customers don’t want as much data storage as you might expect? Increasingly, they’re storing it in the cloud.


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