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Is software-defined storage real? It’s
poised to make a real impact.
BY PATRICK MCLAUGHLIN
Some recent market reviews and forecasts focused on storage networking
echo familiar tunes: Hyperscale data centers largely dictate a market’s ebb
and flow, and just about everything is becoming software-defined.
Reporting on the first quarter of 2017, International Data Corp. (IDC)
found the global enterprise storage market was essentially flat, coming
in at a 0.5-percent decrease year-over-year at $9.2 billion. The analyst de-
tailed, “Total capacity shipments were up 41.4 percent year-over-year to
50.1 exabytes during the quarter. Revenue growth increased within the
group of original design manufacturers (ODMs) that sell directly to hy-
perscale data centers. This portion of the market was up 78.2 percent
year over year to $1.2 billion. Sales of server-based storage were down
13. 7 percent and accounted for $2.7 billion in revenue. External stor-
age systems remained the largest market segment, but the $5.2 billion in
sales represented a modest decline of 2. 8 percent year over year.”
Liz Conner, research manager for storage systems with IDC, observed,
“The enterprise storage market closed out the first quarter relatively flat,
yet adhered to a familiar pattern. Spending on traditional external ar-
rays continues to slowly shrink while spending on all-flash deployments
once again posted strong growth and helped to drive the overall market.
Meanwhile, the very nature of the hyperscale business leads to heavy fluc-
tuations within the market segment, displaying solid growth in 1Q17.”
Dell’Oro Group also reports quarterly on the storage market, and echoed
some of the sentiments. Jimmy Yu, vice president at Dell’Oro Group, ex-
plained, “All flash array is the only segment growing in the external storage
market space. While the total market for external storage has contracted
for the past two years, and will likely decline again this year, all flash stor-
age system sales are reaching all new highs. We predict all flash array rev-
enue to grow approximately 40 percent in 2017 to reach nearly $7 billion,
while disk and hybrid storage system revenues decline about 14 percent.”
IDC also separately tracks the software-defined storage (SDS)
market. In a document it published earlier this year titled “IDC’s
worldwide software-defined storage taxonomy, 2017,” the firm said,