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Is there an information or data recession? Are you using less storage? (With Polls)

Is there an information or data recession? Are you using less storage? (With Polls)

By Greg Schulz

Is there an information or data recession? Are you using less storage? (With Polls)

StorageIO industry trends

Is there an information recession where you are creating, processing, moving or saving less data?

Are you using less data storage than in the past either locally online, offline or remote including via clouds?

IMHO there is no such thing as a data or information recession, granted storage is being used more effectively by some, while economic pressures or competition enables your budgets to be stretched further. Likewise people and data are living longer and getting larger.

In conversations with IT professionals particular the real customers (e.g. not vendors, VAR's, analysts, blogalysts, consultants or media) I routinely hear from people that they continue to have the need to store more information, however they're data storage usage and acquisition patterns are changing. For some this means using what they have more effectively leveraging data footprint reduction (DFR) which includes (archiving, compression, dedupe, thin provision, changing how and when data is protected). This also means using different types of storage from flash SSD to HDD to SSHD to tape as well as cloud in different ways spanning block, file and object storage local and remote.

A common question that comes up particular around vendor earnings announcement times is if the data storage industry is in decline with some vendors experience poor results?

Look beyond vendor revenue metrics

As a back ground reading, you might want to check out this post here (IT and storage economics 101, supply and demand) which candidly should be common sense.

If all you looked at were a vendors revenues or margin numbers as an indicator of how well such as the data storage industry (includes traditional, legacy as well as cloud) you would not be getting the picture.

What needs to be factored into the picture is how much storage is being shipped (from components such as drives to systems and appliances) as well as delivered by service providers.

Looking at storage systems vendors from a revenue earnings perspective you would get mixed indicators depending on who you include, not to mention on how those vendors report break of revenues by product, or amount units shipped. For example looking at public vendors EMC, HDS, HP, IBM, NetApp, Nimble and Oracle (among others) as well as the private ones (if you can see the data) such as Dell, Pure, Simplivity, Solidfire, Tintri results in different analysis. Some are doing better than others on revenues and margins, however try to get clarity on number of units or systems shipped (for actual revenue vs. loaners (planting seeds for future revenue or trials) or demos).

Then look at the service providers such as AWS, Centurlylink, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft Rackspace or Verizon (among others) you should see growth, however clarity about how much they are actually generating on revenues plus margin for storage specific vs. broad general buckets can be tricky.

Now look at the component suppliers such as Seagate and Western Digital (WD) for HDDs and SSHDs who also provide flash SSD drives and other technology. Also look at the other flash component suppliers such as Avago/LSI whose flash business is being bought by Seagate, FusionIO, SANdisk, Samsung, Micron and Intel among others (this does not include the systems vendors who OEM those or other products to build systems or appliances). These and other component suppliers can give another indicator as to the health of the industry both from revenue and margin, as well as footprint (e.g. how many devices are being shipped). For example the legacy and startup storage systems and appliance vendors may have soft or lower revenue numbers, however are they shipping the same or less product? Likewise the cloud or service providers may be showing more revenues and product being acquired however at what margin?

What this all means?

Growing amounts of information?

Look at revenue numbers in the proper context as well as in the bigger picture.

If the same number of component devices (e.g. processors, HDD, SSD, SSHD, memory, etc) are being shipped or more, that is an indicator of continued or increased demand. Likewise if there is more competition and options for IT organizations there will be price competition between vendors as well as service providers.

All of this means that while IT organizations budgets stay stretched, their available dollars or euros should be able to buy (or rent) them more storage space capacity.

Likewise using various data and storage management techniques including DFR, the available space capacity can be stretched further.

So this then begs the question of if the management of storage is important, why are we not hearing vendors talking about software defined storage management vs. chasing each other to out software define storage each other?

Ah, that's for a different post ;).

So what say you?

Are you using less storage?

Do you have less data being created?

Are you using storage and your available budget more effectively?

Please take a few minutes and cast your vote (and see the results).

Sorry I have no Amex or Amazon gift cards or other things to offer you as a giveaway for participating as nobody is secretly sponsoring this poll or post, it's simply sharing and conveying information for you and others to see and gain insight from.

Do you think that there is an information or data recession?

[polldaddy poll="8090724"]

How about are you using or buying more storage, could there be a data storage recession?

[polldaddy poll="8090740"]

Some more reading links

IT and storage economics 101, supply and demand
Green IT deferral blamed on economic recession might be result of green gap
Industry trend: People plus data are aging and living longer
Is There a Data and I/O Activity Recession?
Supporting IT growth demand during economic uncertain times
The Human Face of Big Data, a Book Review
Garbage data in, garbage information out, big data or big garbage?
Little data, big data and very big data (VBD) or big BS?

Ok, nuff said (for now)

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2014 StorageIO All Rights Reserved

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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