Tech Expectations

A deeper look at disruptive business and personal technology

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2015 Data storage market review: continued disruption by flash, SDS, and cloud

(Updated 3/23 – version 3)

Twinstrata, Maginatics, and Amplidata get acquired. Riverbed exits the storage business. DataGravity and Primary Data launch. HGST and Seagate continue to move into the systems business. Nutanix, SimpliVity, Cleversafe, and Scality form alliances with the global systems vendors like Dell, HP, and Cisco. Microsoft opens up their Office 365 ecosystem to other cloud storage providers like Dropbox. Qumulo and several stealth companies are continuing to raise millions of dollars and not telling us what they are doing. Box goes public (finally), the first cloud storage company to do so, and continues to trip up like Mr. Bean. Veritas, arguably the granddaddy of software-defined storage, returns as its own company. Storage unicorns run amok with SimpliVity just joining the club. And this year, we’ll finally get a look at Amazon Web Services financials instead of just clever guessing. Ho hum, just another few months in the data storage market. Continue reading


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How many consumer drives were shipped?

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I was having a conversation the other day about Dropbox, and the topic turned to how much storage individuals had purchased over the years. I decided to take a look.

The best source I could find was Western Digital’s quarterly fact sheet, quite a wealth of storage numbers. Using their numbers to extrapolate the rest of the market, I calculated that over 325 million external drives have been shipped with a total of nearly 200 exabytes of capacity over the last five years.

That’s 66,667 times the amount of digital data stored by the Library of Congress.

That’s 100 times what the new NSA data center can store.

That’s 27.4 gigabytes of storage for every one of the 7.17 billion human beings on Earth or 125 gigabytes for every smartphone owner on Earth.

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Cloud storage is way better than storage on your own device

Bold statement? I was a bit surprised at the conclusion myself. But, let’s take a deeper look.

I’ve obviously made certain choices regarding storage, and have done my own comparisons at certain points in time, but was prompted to update my thoughts after a recent tweet by Chris Mims of the WSJ:

 

Strong words from Chris, but they ring true. It’s easy to forget that your device can be stolen, and your typical protections (e.g. a lot of folks don’t even bother to set a device login) can be circumvented way more easily than a well-designed, well-funded cloud storage service. Historically, according to the Open Security Foundation, reported exposures of personally identifiable information (PII) resulting from lost or stolen devices and media made up more than 22% of all incidents, while hacking made up 30%. The numbers are comparable. While the percentage of incidents related to hacking has increased dramatically in the last year, the um, Target has been easier prey like retailers.

Looking more broadly than security, I wondered if a cloud storage service could actually be better than storage on a device.

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What does perfect computing look like? (extended version)

Most people I know have at least three devices. A laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. Some have two of each, one for home, and one for work. If you’ve gone all Apple or all Android, the systems aren’t totally fragmented and disjointed, only partially so. Any deviation from either ecosystem, either at the device, app, or cloud service, and you start running into trouble.

I think it’s because the vendors don’t really know what we want.

They are learning the new style of computing at the same time we are. The cloud app vendors like Evernote and Dropbox are way ahead of the device and OS vendors, and it shows.

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Data storage market overview: State of the market in 2014

(updated 5/15/14)

Data storage is a massive market ($22.5 billion for the 2013 high end storage market alone), and has reached a critical point in its evolution, highlighted by dramatic changes in base technologies, interfaces, and service models. EMC’s recent acquisition of DSSD was another thought-provoking data point.

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