The storage market is moving very fast, indeed. It’s a potent blend of explosive information growth coupled with rapid technological innovation.
Historically, IDC has been the independent scorekeeper for storage market share: who’s doing well, and who’s not. No one is perfect in this regard, but IDC is the best out there, and has been for quite some time.
Today, IDC announced that – going forward – they’d be tracking a new category of storage: the purpose-built backup appliance, or PBBA.
If you’ve been in the storage industry for a while, there used to be a bunch of analysis and research you could get on the tape market: tape media, tape drives, tape libraries, and all that.
But it’s pretty clear that the industry is transitioning from tape to disk. No, tape isn’t dead, but there’s a heckuva lot less of it that people are buying these days.
So, the question emerges: how should the industry track where all that revenue is going?
Enter the category of the PBBA – the Purpose Built Backup Appliance -- a rough replacement for the combined market segments of tape media, tape drives and tape libraries as the industry shifts from one media model to the next.
Arguments Will Inevitably Arise
Not surprisingly, EMC does exceptionally well in this new IDC category.
As well we should – we’ve been investing aggressively in the industry shift from tape to disk for many years. From the first EMC Disk Library, to today’s DataDomain and Avamar and the new Bus-Tech acquisition – we’ve been investing like crazy to accelerate this technology transition. Personally, I think EMC justifiably deserves a bit of recognition here.
But what if you, as a vendor, don’t have a product in this category, or – worse – you’re not doing well?
Well, for starters you’d argue that the category is somehow invalid. Unfortunately, this device category is already well-defined in customers’ minds, and – by all appearances – growing rapidly. You then might try and argue that IDC and the marketplace is entirely wrong, and that – instead of tape – the market is rushing towards whatever non-PBBA alternative you happen to be selling. Good luck with that as well.
Once the noise has settled down, I think the conclusion is clear: the majority of people who used to use tape libraries are now starting to replace them with devices that are disk-based. That trend is in obvious full force today, and will undoubtedly continue.
And, thanks to IDC, we can now track which vendors are doing well, and which ones aren’t.
In the technology business, progress is inevitable …