IDC: File-Based, Object-Based Storage Growth Far Exceeds Overall Storage Growth

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IDC on Wednesday said the worldwide market for file-based and object-based storage is gaining momentum, and that cloud vendors building their own object-based storage systems is driving this market to grow faster than the commercial storage business.

IDC forecast that worldwide revenue for file-based and object-based storage will reach $38 billion by 2017, a huge jump from the market's estimated $23-billion-plus revenue in 2013.

Object-based storage is a way of storing data as flexible-sized objects rather than the fixed block sizes used for storing data in traditional SAN arrays, making it more suitable for handling unstructured data or data in a cloud.


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Object storage, as defined by San Antonio-based hybrid cloud provider Rackspace, doesn’t provide access to raw blocks of data or file-based access to data. Instead, object storage provides access to whole objects, or blobs of data, generally via a system-specific API.

"Object storage excels at storing content that can grow without bound. Perfect use cases include backups, archiving, and static web content like images and scripts. One of the main advantages of object storage systems is their ability to reliably store a large amount of data at relatively low cost," Rackspace wrote.

Object-based storage has become a huge part of the storage industry, thanks to the growth of companies that in the past were not counted as storage vendors, said Ashish Nadkarni, research director for storage systems at IDC.

While traditional disk-based scale-up storage sales is starting to contract, scale-up and scale-out file-based and object-based storage sales are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.5 percent from 2012 to 2017, Nadkarni said.

That growth stems in large part to the increased use of the cloud for object-based storage, he said.

"A lot of cloud providers who provide object-based storage like Amazon and Google are not buying storage equipment from companies like EMC or NetApp," he said. "They buy their own disks from companies like Seagate and get their servers from white-box vendors. And they have their own file systems."

"It sounds like a good business to be in," said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider that works with object-based storage via partnerships with Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Content Platform, NetApp's Storage Grid, Dell's partnership with Caringo and SGI's partnership with Scality.

NEXT: Making Sense Of Object-Based Storage Growth

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