What's in Storage?

The global storage software market clocked in at a healthy $2.8 billion for Q3 2007, according to new findings from industry research firm IDC -- representing a 9.8 percent year-over-year increase. While storage has been growing steadily -- IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Storage Software Tracker points out that this is the 16th consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth -- there are important shifts within the marketplace. For example, the hottest segments within storage are currently:
    Data Archiving: Including hierarchical storage management (HSM) and email archiving. 13.6 percent year-over-year growth. Data Protection and Recovery: 13.1 percent year-over-year growth.
These two segments are growing faster than storage replication, storage management, file system, storage device management, storage infrastructure, and IDC's "other" segment. It's no surprise that the rates of growth in the two leading segments are so similar: Data archiving, protection, and recovery are interconnected in that, once data is archived, it needs to be both secured and retrievable. This part of the storage lifecycle is typically driven by regulatory requirements and e-discovery, which allows firms in litigation-prone industries (such as financial services and healthcare) to retrieve online documents increasingly needed for court cases. These kinds of drivers are nothing new in the storage market, but analyst Laura DuBois of IDC describes an emerging data-archiving, -protection, and -recovery driver that provides end users with the opportunity to do something more relevant for the business. "For example, in call centers, it might have taken days to retrieve customer records or statements," she says. "Now, a customer service representative can retrieve information about customers more efficiently." This is because contemporary archiving and retrieval software makes it possible first to tag many kinds of data -- including account statements, scanned check images, and call records from a customer's last interaction with the call center -- then to associate it with a CRM master record for a customer, and, finally, retrieve it on demand. DuBois says that the use of storage software for CRM-applicable transactions has been on the increase for the past two years, and IDC expects the trend to continue. This is a heads-up not only to CRM end users who might need to pay more attention to their archiving strategy but also to storage vendors whose messaging is disproportionately oriented towards regulatory and legal drivers. IDC identified the following Q3 2007 market-share leaders in the storage market:
    EMC.............................25.6 percent. Symantec...................17.0 percent. IBM..............................12.4 percent. Network Appliance.....10.9 percent. CA..................................4.3 percent. HP...................................4.3 percent. Other Vendors.............25.5 percent.

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