Where is all that data going?

As an investor, I'm always watching the market hoping to find that next big thing... Can I find a Unicorn, and retire? Can I join a startup and get massive returns? Maybe I can find a stock which will grow at a 50% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)? If only I were good at investing. One can dream!

As I was preparing materials for #IDF16, I was reminded of what real growth looks like (Unfortunately, it was not my stock portfolio). I looked at the staggering growth of the data storage market. It is simply amazing.

The capacity of Traditional Enterprise Storage Systems sold, that is the bits and bytes of capacity sold in Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attach Storage (NAS) appliances, has been growing at an alarming rate over the last decade. In 2005, there were around 500,000 Terabytes of capacity shipped in Traditional Enterprise Storage systems.  Jumping forward to 2015, some sources like IDC say there were more than 33,000,000 Terabytes shipped in Enterprise Storage Systems. Astounding! Every year of the last decade, on average, nearly 50% more bits and bytes of Enterprise Storage systems capacity was sold than in the prior year. If only I could have invested in a stock index which followed the growth of Enterprise Storage systems capacity...  I digress.

Here is a look at the growth from 2009 through 2014.  5 years of massive growth. Bam!  Unicorn.   To contrast this, the S&P 500 saw a CAGR of about 7%.

Traditional Enterprise Storage (eg SAN/NAS) capacity YoY growth - Source: IDC
Traditional Enterprise Storage (eg SAN/NAS) capacity YoY growth - Source: IDC

Unicorn?  Maybe?  Maybe not!

With the advent of SSDs, and faster storage technologies, we are seeing a massive technology disruption, and the market has figured it out! You may remember, in 2014, I pontificated about this great disruption:

Software Defined Storage (SDS): Just a funny way to spell SSD!

SSDs, and SDS are turning the Enterprise Storage Systems market on its ear. Take a look at this data. What was a 50% per year or more growth in Traditional Enterprise Storage systems capacity has flipped.

Traditional Enterprise Storage (eg SAN/NAS) capacity growth - Source: IDC
Traditional Enterprise Storage (eg SAN/NAS) capacity growth - Source: IDC


My boss always told me that graphs should go up and to the right.  This one does not.  Uh oh.

I love technology. That's why I became an engineer. I love to see people figure out better ways to do things. I also love to be on the front end of disruptive technology changes. When there is a big change that enables you to do something you've always been doing, but do it better, faster, and cheaper, it is amazing to see how quickly the fickle market changes.

There is a massive disruption of data storage in enterprises happening, and we are only at the beginning.  If you want to learn about the technologies driving this disruption, where all the data is going, and what is coming next, come to my session MASTS02 on 8/15/2016, 11am in Moscone room 2003 at #IDF16, to learn more!

I promise, my bowtie will not disappoint.