What’s in store?

The need for a scalable infrastructure to cope with electronic data management should now be a priority for the discerning CIO.

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By  Sherief Younis Published  June 2, 2007

IDC expects, by 2011, the hard disk drive (HDD) industry will more than quadruple the total HDD capacity shipped in 2006 to meet the growing storage requirements of an expanding digital universe. The analyst also predicts worldwide HDD unit shipments will increase to 675 million units in 2011, while revenue will rise to approximately US$37 billion.

"The expanding digital universe creates a tremendous opportunity for HDD storage used in PCs, enterprise systems, and personal storage devices," says John Rydning, research manager for IDC's hard disk drives programme. "Despite challenges from competing storage technologies and volatile consumer electronic markets, there is a fundamental need for additional storage capacity worldwide and this will continue to generate solid HDD demand."

According to IDC, as the HDD industry looks ahead to further growth, it needs to remain vigilant to several emerging trends and realities that include a growth in adoption by enterprise storage customers of both small form factor HDDs to optimise performance and power as well as high capacity desktop-class HDDs to optimise capacity and power.

The analyst also outlines that information protection and control (IPC) solutions will be a major area of investment over the next five years, due to their key role in protecting sensitive information and complying with privacy regulations. It is expected that the IPC market will pass the US$3 billion mark in 2011.

"Information has become the world's new currency," said Brian Burke, research manager for IDC's Security Products programme. "The growing number of high-profile incidents in which customer records, confidential information, and intellectual property were leaked, has created an explosive demand for solutions that protect against the deliberate or inadvertent release of sensitive information."

With the worldwide storage market posting consistent growth since June 2006, the provision of a scalable storage system to manage the flow of electronic data should be a pressing issue for companies as they address their electronic content management systems (ECM). Statistics point towards continued growth in the storage sector and analysts expect there to be a move towards data replication and integration between storage and server platforms.

"Storage has become an essential part of any business, from the SME to the large enterprise, to store and protect data. At the rate data accumulation is accelerating, the need for efficient, cost-effective storage solutions is paramount. Storage is evolving into a strategic function of the data centre. An intelligent, virtual storage environment that works with virtual servers will enable the fully virtualised data centre, which is where evolution is taking us," says Paul Klinkby-Silver, VP Europe for Equallogic.

"There is no question that the virtual data centre is evolving as more IT managers demand that their data centre systems be completely integrated and automated. This is a positive development for customers and vendors. The paradigm shift towards simplicity, integration, and automation has enormous operational benefits to customers and presents a compelling business opportunity for those storage system designers creative enough to engage with it," he says.

According to a 2005 report by Forrester Research, the transactional content management segment of the ECM market is expected to represent approximately $2 billion of the approximate $3.9 billion ECM market in 2008. At its recent Orlando conference, EMC, a storage software provider, outlined cost control and business process management (BPM) as some of the important factors businesses should look at when analysing their storage systems.

"The need to control costs, consolidate IT infrastructure, and manage content with the same discipline as enterprise data leads many IT decision makers to demand a core set of capabilities to capture, manage and store enterprise content," explains Connie Moore, VP and research director at Forrester. "Organisations that process transactional content often require not only strong document imaging, enterprise report management and records management, but also need BPM to orchestrate the process."

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