The cloud data storage market

The value of the cloud data storage market is estimated to grow to as much as $57 billion (£33 billion) by 2019, as more organisations put their data into private and public clouds. This HP whitepaper assesses how the cloud data storage market is evolving and looks at what companies must consider when planning their cloud data storage needs.

The growth in the volume and variety of unstructured data in enterprises has created a need for secure, reliable and cost-efficient data storage infrastructures. Cloud-based storage solutions can provide just that, as well as migration facilities for easy access from multiple lines of business within an organisation, and amongst multiple organisations too.

Read more: The top five latest trends in cloud computing

The drivers for the cloud data storage market include big data and unstructured data growth, flexible, remote and collaborative working and the consumerisation of IT, including BYOD (bring your own device).

The market broken down

Research and consulting firm MarketsandMarkets has plotted the estimated growing value of the cloud data storage market over the next five years, by combining what it sees as the main cloud storage categories. These are cloud storage gateways, backup and recovery, data movement and access, data replication, archiving, security and storage resource management, and professional services.

While the restraints for the market are cloud data storage security issues and performance related issues, rising demand for cloud-based security solutions, strategic partnerships in the market, and private cloud storage adoption are helping to move the value of the market rapidly upwards, according to MarketsandMarkets. As a result, the private and public cloud storage market is estimated to grow from $13.57 billion (£7.9 billion) in 2014 to $56.57 billion (£33 billion) in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.1 per cent.

The growth for basic cloud data storage without most of the other related services has been measured by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) at $13 billion (£7.6 billion) by 2018. However, GIA warns that the use of the cloud for enterprise-grade primary data storage is "limited and is expected to remain so in the medium term" until "developments in bandwidth and security bring a change for the better."

Major players

Major players in the market studied by GIA for its research included Amazon Web Services, Apple, AT&T, Dropbox, Datapipe, Google, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Microsoft and Rackspace, amongst others. This market growth is coming despite bad publicity caused by high profile public cloud data outages over the last year, which have affected leading players including Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

Cloud outages

The Microsoft Azure data storage facility went down globally after an employee failed to renew a security certificate. After a 12-hour outage, the company was forced to offer compensation to affected users, in line with their service level agreements. The Redmond-based firm also saw another outage affecting its SkyDrive storage service, with the Outlook and SQL offerings in Azure also separately going down. In addition, Hotmail and Messenger saw significant crashes.

Google's Drive cloud storage service also went down along with its Gmail service. Amazon's cloud went down too, and that service has now seen three major outages in two years. Despite these failures though, companies are ploughing into the cloud regardless, but they must take account of the possibility of data accessibility and service issues at the same time.

Choosing the right system

Choosing the right storage system to match your business is not an easy decision, as the market is becoming increasingly crowded. Organisations must make sure they make the right investment for the long-term, by looking at ways to accommodate growing storage needs, as well as addressing data protection requirements to guard business operations and meet compliance requirements.

Many businesses may well need assistance in choosing the right solution as a result of not having the time, resources and internal skills that are required. However, whether they go to an outside cloud data storage partner for assistance or have the internal resources to give it a go themselves, they have to make sure the key cloud data storage tenets are addressed. Companies must demand data storage flexibility to adapt to changing business needs, and they require easy to manage and affordable systems that can be modified and are not locked into the whims of any particular vendor.

Solutions providers

As data storage is part of a rapidly changing technology roadmap, organisations are turning to solutions providers that can work with heterogeneous storage, data protection and system recovery technologies, and which can accommodate multiple connectivity protocols. Organisations must address and tackle data protection on personal devices and servers, including the use of data encryption; and put in place strong access control procedures, to make sure that the people accessing data are actually allowed to have it.

Impact analysis

To prepare for a cloud data storage deployment, organisations must carry out an in-depth business impact analysis. This must consider how much storage the business needs, and whether any storage solution under consideration would be flexible enough for business growth.

A gap analysis tool can help organisations compare their actual performance with their potential performance. After completing one, companies will be able to buy the correct storage for their current needs, and be able to understand what they may have to buy to address storage needs in the future.

Reaping the benefits

It is worth jumping through hoops, as organisations who have done the right preparation can enjoy low capital costs, through a flexible and scalable cloud-based pay-as-you-grow cost structure.

Read more: The five biggest cloud security concerns explained

The cloud can also help companies with low IT staff levels, by automating time-consuming processes like data backup, data replication and data archiving. For a cloud-based data backup service, companies can pay a monthly fee and see their data backed-up automatically.

Cloud data storage growth will be seen for many years to come, but users must prepare for inevitable outages and help alleviate their effects by having the right failover and data backup systems in place.