Symform Forecasts Top 5 Cloud and Storage Predictions for 2012

New Year Will Ring in a “Storage Revolution” Amid Record Data Growth and Continued Data Center Bloat

SEATTLE, WA – December 5, 2011 – The coming year will herald in a “storage revolution,” according to Symform, which released its top cloud and storage predictions for 2012. Over the last year, top headlines centered on the growing popularity of cloud services, the staggering growth in data, and several high-profile data center outages. Based on these strong industry trends and insights gathered from customers, partners and industry experts, Symform predicts 2012 will be all about data – how to store, secure, access and manage it. This will not only be a large enterprise trend but also impactful to the millions of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), and the service providers who deliver solutions to them.

“Globally, the volume of data is growing at an accelerating, record pace. It is simply not possible for companies or service providers to continue managing and storing data with traditional local or offsite methodologies,” said Matthew J. Schiltz, CEO of Symform. “This massive data growth combined with the high cost and reliability issues surrounding traditional offsite storage will force a revolution in the industry, as companies push to get greater ROI from existing infrastructure and take a more strategic view of their data.”

According to Symform, this increased focus on data will serve as a catalyst for IT professionals to seek out new architectural models and technologies. Companies will place increased demands on vendors to dramatically reduce the cost of cloud-based services, such as storage, without jeopardizing security or performance. This is challenging as existing cloud providers continue to be burdened with huge capital investment, operating expenses, and constant build out of new centralized data centers. This centralized data center expansion will come under increasing fire from environmentalists, as this is clearly not a “green” cloud computing model.

Symform’s top predictions include:

  1. 2012 will mark the beginning of a “cloud storage revolution.”
    Symform predicts that accelerating amounts of data, combined with the high cost of traditional offsite storage, will serve as a catalyst for revolutionary reform. With IDC predicting 50 times data growth by 2020 and the gap between costs of local versus offsite storage continuing to widen, businesses must identify dramatically better means for how this data can be managed, retained, stored, shared, virtualized and distributed. The spread will continue to widen between per GB costs of a local storage device versus what it costs per GB to store and backup that data in the Cloud.  With 4TB drives on the horizon under $100, businesses will balk at paying $1,000 per month to backup a $100 local drive. Businesses will also look to solve a fundamental storage issue of deploying additional onsite storage capacity at record rates when the average local disc is only 25-35% utilized over the life of the drive. The free space on local storage devices globally is orders of magnitudes larger than the capacity of all current data centers combined, and businesses will realize the economics does not make sense.
  2. The “green” data center for cloud computing will be debunked
    While the cloud is heralded as “green,” data center sprawl is creeping in as companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon build out massive global infrastructures to power their cloud-based services. Recent reports show Google continuously exerts 250 million watts of energy from the servers behind its cloud. That is enough to power all of Salt Lake City or any other city with approximately 200,000 households. Today, data centers account for 14 percent of all carbon emissions, and the EPA estimates that data centers and servers account for two percent of power in the U.S. By 2020, Symform predicts that if left unchecked, more than 25 percent of the nation’s power will be required to power data centers, unless businesses can identify new means for storing data without building additional data centers.
  3. IT solution providers will focus on augmenting current service
    portfolios
     with innovative cloud offerings.
    According to CompTIA’s 2nd Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study, 40 percent of channel companies both sell and use cloud offerings, compared with just 15 percent of companies last year. As we dive into 2012, Symform predicts that pace will accelerate. In an ongoing effort to embrace the cloud, IT services providers will look to innovative cloud offerings to differentiate themselves from the competition, add improved and more cost-effective offerings to their customers, and increase their gross margins. Emerging cloud storage options, in particular, offer an attractive alternative to traditional onsite storage, which has become a common service add-on for many solution providers.
  4. 2012 will be a wake-up call for SMBs to reassess current storage and backup practices.
    SMBs are among the most vulnerable victims of cloud outages, with some never fully recovering after experiencing a major data loss. To make matters worse, research reveals that 70 percent of SMBs do not store data off-site, only locally, and that at least 15 percent of SMBs have no data backup or business continuity plans whatsoever.  Faced with a dizzying array of on-premise and “prosumer” cloud storage options like iCloud and Dropbox, Symform predicts that SMBs will re-evaluate their buying criteria in favor of more secure, scalable, enterprise-class storage and backup solutions.
  5. Enterprises will move beyond the public versus private cloud debate to focus on creating and participating in trusted cloud networks.
    Many are predicting a serious security breach in 2012 that will force organizations to rethink how they secure data and applications. According to the Security of Cloud Computing Providers Study, neither cloud providers nor customers feel responsible for data security in the cloud. Two-thirds of providers believe it is their customer’s responsibility, yet only one-third of cloud customers believe that they too carry the burden of securing their own data. The remaining majority forgets that behind every cloud is a physical data center, subject to the inherent weaknesses of an on-premise data center that should be held to the highest standards of performance and security. In 2012, Symform predicts that cloud customers will move beyond the public versus private cloud debate to focus on creating and participating in trusted cloud networks.

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