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Drowning in Data: Is Software The Solution?

Enterprises are drowning in data, but just throwing money and resources at bigger, faster and more efficient storage doesn't seem to be working. According to the IDC study "Extracting Value from Chaos," which was sponsored by EMC (arguably the biggest beneficiary of this data deluge), data is doubling every two years, and enterprises will manage 50 times more data and files will grow 75 times in the next decade. Since 2005, annual enterprise investments in the Digital Universe--cloud, hardware, software, services and staff to create, manage, store and generate revenue from the information--have increased 50% to $4 trillion.

By 2015, IDC predicts, the enterprise storage system market will be worth $37.3 billion, growing at 3.9% compound annual growth rate between 2010 and 2015 ("Worldwide Enterprise Storage Systems 2011–2015 Forecast: 'Emerging' Once Again Is a Keyword in the Storage Market"). This period will also see emerging market segments and technologies have a "profound" impact on the storage systems market landscape, including emerging customer segments such as content depots and cloud storage providers, emerging data use cases such as business analytics and medical imaging, and emerging solution bundles such as application appliances.

So is software the solution to all your data woes? According to another IDC study, "Worldwide Storage Software Qview," the double-digit growth experienced in the second quarter is broadly aligned with increased investments made within the server and disk storage systems markets during the same quarter, which indicates that storage software sales benefited from expansive investments made within the infrastructure space.

Overall, the storage software market grew 11.3% year-over-year, to $3.4 billion. Five of the seven functional markets covered in the report grew at double-digit or high-single-digit rates. Storage infrastructure software was the top performer, growing at 22.6%, followed by storage and device management software at 17.3%. IDC says data protection and recovery software sales accounted for 34.2% of the market and were the largest contributor to incremental revenue for the quarter.

From a vendor perspective, EMC ruled the roost at 24.5% market share, followed by Symantec (15.8%) and IBM (14.1%). NetApp held down fourth place, but the companies tied for fifth, Hitachi and HP, turned in the best performances from a growth perspective--up 76.5% and 35.7%, respectively. Collectively, these six vendors accounted for 94.2% of the market.

There were a number of factors driving this growth, says IDC senior research analyst Marshall Amaldas in a written statement. "New product introductions, simplified pricing and bundling, ongoing modernization of data protection processes, a need to improve management of storage within virtual environments, and desire to mitigate against legal and IT risks were all important contributors to growth. The fact that all of this is occurring during times of elevated economic uncertainty makes the market growth even more impressive."

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