Volume 3, Number 28 -- August 16, 2006

IDC Says Disk-Based Data Protection Is Booming

Published: August 16, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Predicting the demise of tape is something of a pastime in the computer industry, but the continued ubiquity of tape for archiving large data sets for the smallest amount of money possible does not mean that other backup and archiving technologies do not come along and find a place. And so it is with disk-based data protection.

The thing about tape that is not so attractive is that it is orders of magnitude slower than disk technology, which is why the latter costs a lot more and has been used for the better part of three decades as the means of storing operating systems, application software, and their data sets. That's why some storage vendors have created special disk arrays that look and act like tape drives--and even interface with tape archiving software--which are known as virtual tape libraries. And, because many compliance regulations require the archiving of email, instant messages, documents, and other business information--and to have the information easily accessible for the purposes of auditing the content and the security used to keep it safe from unauthorized access--other types of compliance appliances and storage solutions are causing the disk-based data protection market, as IDC calls it, to explode.

By IDC's market model math, the disk-based data protection market will grow from $8 billion in sales in 2006 to over $50 billion by 2010; those numbers include hardware and software acquisitions made as part of the solution. To put that in perspective, the current general-purpose server market--and we could make an argument that many modern disk arrays are really just tuned servers, but forget that for a moment--accounted for $51 billion in sales in 2005.

"We have seldom seen so much unmet pent-up demand for a market that is already so large," explained Robert Gray, vice president of worldwide storage systems research at IDC. "Latent demand is also high in the SMB market. However, traditional storage solutions are totally inadequate to meet current and future demand, creating significant opportunities for innovative suppliers."

IDC has just released a study called Disk-Based Data Protection--2006, which takes a look at established and emerging data protection methods such as backup to disk, replication, continuous data protection (CDP), and virtual tape libraries (VTL), and projects how these technologies will affect tape technologies and other practices for data protection, high availability, and security. If you want to know the secrets of the study, you need to give IDC some dough.

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
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