Avoiding the Race to Zero: Storage Specialization Infiltrates the Cloud Infrastructure Market
In every facet of society, data gathering from connected devices—whether connected to each other or used for tracking processes and things—has driven explosive data growth. Machine-to-machine communication, the Internet of Things, and technological advances in fields like telemedicine and manufacturing have created massive amounts of data. When these voluminous amounts of data are replicated regularly to prevent data loss, a never-ending cycle of data growth is born. Enterprise data centers have a finite amount of storage space available, and capital constraints often limit expansion. The natural enterprise response is to turn to the public cloud for storage needs.
Cloud-based storage-as-a-service offers an easily scalable, budget-friendly means of storing corporate data. The options in cloud storage are numerous, however, and differentiation among mass-market providers is minimal. Instead, Frost and Sullivan has determined that the cloud storage market has taken two distinct paths. First, there are mass-market, hyperscale providers like Amazon Web Services, Google, or Oracle that provide basic storage space in their cloud storage offers. These providers solve a space issue for customers that need to store large amounts of data, with service being a secondary focus, and often at an additional cost. There are also a number of smaller providers that are differentiating their cloud storage offerings by bundling services that meet a distinct set of business needs.
For many customers—especially SMBs—space is not the only issue that needs to be addressed when dealing with data storage. There remain the issues of how to get data into the cloud quickly and reliably, and how to retrieve it when it needs to be used. Several cloud storage providers have focused more on backup and recovery, with storage as an adjunct service to the primary backup and recovery service. Such providers liken backup and storage to a moving service. Having a warehouse to store unused but still wanted items is important; but having a moving crew to move items into and out of the warehouse is critical to a smooth experience. While mass market storage vendors drive economies of scale as close to zero as possible, other providers have chosen to differentiate with backup and recovery services—the “moving crew” of the storage solution.
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