Top 5 cloud and storage predictions for 2012

Globally, the volume of data is growing at an
accelerating, record pace. It is simply not possible for companies or service
providers to continue managing and storing data with traditional local or
offsite methodologies.

“This massive data growth combined with the high
cost and reliability issues surrounding traditional offsite storage will force
a revolution in the industry, as companies push to get greater ROI from
existing infrastructure and take a more strategic view of their data,”
said Matthew J. Schiltz, CEO of Symform.

The focus on data will serve as a catalyst for IT
professionals to seek out new architectural models and technologies. Companies
will focus more on vendors to reduce the cost of cloud-based services, such as
storage, without jeopardizing security.

This is challenging as cloud providers continue to be
burdened with huge capital investment, operating expenses, and build out of new
centralized data centers. This centralized data center expansion will come
under increasing fire from environmentalists, as this is clearly not a green
cloud computing model.

Symform’s top predictions include

1. 2012 will mark the beginning of a “cloud storage

Accelerating amounts of data, combined with the high cost
of traditional offsite storage, will serve as a catalyst for revolutionary
reform. With IDC predicting 50 times data growth by 2020 and the gap between
costs of local versus offsite storage continuing to widen, businesses must
identify dramatically better means for how this data can be managed, retained,
stored, shared, virtualized and distributed. The spread will continue to widen
between per GB costs of a local storage device versus what it costs per GB to
store and backup that data in the Cloud. With 4TB drives on the horizon under $100,
businesses will balk at paying $1,000 per month to backup a $100 local drive.
Businesses will also look to solve a fundamental storage issue of deploying
additional onsite storage capacity at record rates when the average local disc
is only 25-35% utilized over the life of the drive. The free space on local
storage devices globally is orders of magnitudes larger than the capacity of
all current data centers combined, and businesses will realize the economics
does not make sense.

2. The green data center for cloud computing will be

While the cloud is heralded as “green,” data
center sprawl is creeping in as companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon
build out massive global infrastructures to power their cloud-based services.
Recent reports show Google continuously exerts 250 million watts of energy from
the servers behind its cloud. That is enough to power all of Salt Lake City or
any other city with approximately 200,000 households. Today, data centers
account for 14 percent of all carbon emissions, and the EPA estimates that data
centers and servers account for two percent of power in the U.S. By 2020,
Symform predicts that if left unchecked, more than 25 percent of the nation’s
power will be required to power data centers, unless businesses can identify
new means for storing data without building additional data centers.

3. IT solution providers will focus on augmenting current
service portfolios with innovative cloud offerings. According to CompTIA’s 2nd
Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study, 40 percent of channel companies both
sell and use cloud offerings, compared with just 15 percent of companies last
year. As we dive into 2012, Symform predicts that pace will accelerate. In an
ongoing effort to embrace the cloud, IT services providers will look to
innovative cloud offerings to differentiate themselves from the competition,
add improved and more cost-effective offerings to their customers, and increase
their gross margins. Emerging cloud storage options, in particular, offer an
attractive alternative to traditional onsite storage, which has become a common
service add-on for many solution providers.

4. 2012 will be a wake-up call for SMBs to reassess
current storage and backup practices. SMBs are among the most vulnerable
victims of cloud outages, with some never fully recovering after experiencing a
major data loss. To make matters worse, research reveals that 70 percent of
SMBs do not store data off-site, only locally, and that at least 15 percent of
SMBs have no data backup or business continuity plans whatsoever. Faced with a
dizzying array of on-premise and “prosumer” cloud storage options
like iCloud and Dropbox, Symform predicts that SMBs will re-evaluate their
buying criteria in favor of more secure, scalable, enterprise-class storage and
backup solutions.

5. Enterprises will move beyond the public versus private
cloud debate to focus on creating and participating in trusted cloud networks.
Many are predicting a serious security breach in 2012 that will force
organizations to rethink how they secure data and applications. According to
the Security of Cloud Computing Providers Study, neither cloud providers nor
customers feel responsible for data security in the cloud. Two-thirds of
providers believe it is their customer’s responsibility, yet only one-third of
cloud customers believe that they too carry the burden of securing their own
data. The remaining majority forgets that behind every cloud is a physical data
center, subject to the inherent weaknesses of an on-premise data center that
should be held to the highest standards of performance and security. In 2012,
Symform predicts that cloud customers will move beyond the public versus
private cloud debate to focus on creating and participating in trusted cloud

By Team
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