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.
- Hardware commoditization and component improvements have been a big part of the story. Magnetic storage has continued its relentless increase in density (Kryder’s Law), albeit with an extended pause in price declines due to a supply constraint from the Thai floods. Solid state storage is making significant inroads into enterprise and cloud data centers, pushing massive valuations for both enterprise flash vendors ($3 billion for Pure Storage), and flash-based cloud vendors ($153 million for Digital Ocean). Acceptance of x86 architectures for high scale storage systems, paired with open source hardware designs and scale-out software, has reached a pinnacle. Quanta Computer’s emergence as a direct system supplier and Red Hat’s acquisition of Ceph professional services firm Inktank are relevant data points there.