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Is there (storage) space for hard drives in the era of the Cloud?

Mark Wojtasiak, Enterprise Segment Manager, Seagate Technology | Sept. 1, 2014
Hard drives and the cloud are not mutually exclusive and should not be.

If you are living in a modern urban city, chances are you would have heard of the ubiquitous "Cloud", whether you are an IT professional or not. It is arguably the single most over-used, perhaps over-hyped word in recent years. For some, it is a godsend in terms of providing cost-effective data storage solutions. For others, it opens up a whole can of worms in terms of security and ownership of data.

The cloud indeed opens up a whole new chapter of possibilities in data storage and management, which then begs the question - where do traditional data storage options fit in? Is the data storage town big enough for both traditional and modern methods?

The era of Cloud

The Cloud represents the next frontier of the data centre, one that is not bound by the capabilities of hardware. We are moving towards an era of cloud where advancements in hardware need to become more modular and match intelligent software to enable dynamic innovations.

Cloud adoption has become an almost inevitable route for any organisation hoping to stay relevant. Studies predict that more than 50% of all information technology will be in the cloud in the next five years. By 2016, the Asia-Pacific market is expected to account for 1.5 zetabyte (ZB), that's 1.5 billion terabytes (TB), of global cloud computing usage - the highest users worldwide[1].

Growing space, pains and opportunities

Ironically, as more cloud storage options become available - private, public or even hybrid clouds - the more enterprises find themselves short of data storage space. The advent of Cloud, Mobility, Social Media and Big Data over the past few years is not creating a new problem, it has simply elevated the problem in magnitude - the enterprise has always needed more room.

According to a survey of 100 CIOs by Storiant[2], 60% of these executives claim that data will outpace their company's storage solution in the next 12 months. While it may seem a no-brainer to move such large volumes of data to a more cost effective platform like the public cloud, over 33% (more than 1 out of 3) CIOs say that it is not an option due to security concerns, control and regulatory compliance issues.

Where do hard drives fit in

Storage capacity is just one facet of the problem, but it is an important one to address in order for organisations to then focus on utilising the data for their benefit. The Storiant research indicated that 46% of companies will store their data for an average of 8 years, which could cost nearly US$25 million. Besides being able to store vast amounts of data, companies must, more importantly, be able to access and retrieve data in order to perform analytics and derive any kind of useful information. 


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