"I think, the demand for cloud-based storage will grow exponentially since many companies are starting to lean towards cloud-based solutions. While the concept is not new, it started to regain its usability as the Internet bandwidth is becoming faster and faster," says Hussain.
6. NAS FTW
With the large number of small and medium-sized businesses in the Middle Eastern market, and their desire to upgrade to enterprise-level technology, some believe that network-attached storage (NAS) devices will play a large role in the 2014 storage landscape.
Indeed, even enterprises will leverage NAS to larger extents over the coming years, according to Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, WD.
"Regional businesses, whether SMBs or enterprises, will increasingly turn to NAS devices in a bid to make managing and accessing their data easier. Organisations will look at taking advantage of the robust scalability and data redundancy provided by these systems," he says.
Perhaps more importantly, though, businesses will begin to see the benefits of remote data access features that NAS systems often offer. With properly leveraged NAS systems, businesses will not need to turn to cloud-based storage in order to access their files on the go.
"This essentially replicates what cloud storage providers offer albeit without the business losing ownership of their data and without the monthly fees," says Saifuddin.
7. Storage goes mobile
There's no denying the enormous smartphone penetration in the Middle East, and this is pushing up the demand for portable storage in the form of high-capacity SD cards and USB flash drives. In markets such as Africa, where mobile penetration is higher than desktop penetration, this is especially true, as Tareq Husseini, Sales Director, Middle East and Africa, SanDisk, explains.
"The second trend we see is the consumption of mobile storage in the African continent which has a huge impact on our business. There is a strong adaption of smartphones into Africa and this is fuelling storage demands on the continent especially in North, East and West Africa including parts of Southern Africa like South Africa. As the prices of smartphones are reducing we are seeing the immediate effects of consumption of memory cards for storage. There is also accelerated demand for USB devices," he says.
This demand is accelerating in the Middle East, too -- sure the region has a bigger need for fixed storage than Africa does, but this does not necessarily mean that the market is shunning portable storage. "The UAE is no exception. The region is one of the top countries in the world for smartphone penetration," says Husseini.
8. Bigging up Big Data
It's been accused of being one of the most over-hyped buzzwords in modern IT. However, there's no smoke without fire, and already early adopters in the Middle East have begun to leverage the power of Big Data analytics. According to Aaron White, General Manager, Middle East, Hitachi Data Systems, more and more organisations will join these early adopters in 2014.
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