SOURCE: Symform


December 19, 2012 09:00 ET

Symform Forecasts Top 6 Cloud and Storage Predictions for 2013

Continued Massive Data Growth Triggers a Shift in Cloud Economics and Increased Investment in Data Management, Cloud Storage On-Ramps, Service Level Agreements and Distributed Systems

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - Dec 19, 2012) - The combined forces of digital data growth and the consumerization of IT will come to a head in 2013, and create a wave of increased investment and moves by IT to take back control of corporate data. Symform predicts companies of all sizes will demand that vendors and service providers improve on-ramps to the cloud and service level agreements (SLAs) around cloud services. The company expects larger investments in data management, big data, and distributed systems, and believes the use of rogue cloud services in the enterprise will come under increased governance. Based on conversations with customers, partners and industry experts from around the globe, these predictions will impact both large enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as the IT service providers who deliver solutions to them.

"As we enter 2013, the massive growth of digital data and the challenges around how to secure, manage and store that data is only increasing -- in spite of the many technologies and cloud solutions aimed at alleviating these issues," said Matthew J. Schiltz, CEO of Symform. "Last year, we correctly predicted the continued disparity between local and remote storage costs, along with an increased concern over the high cost and environmental impact of a record build out of datacenters to support centralized cloud platforms. This year, we will see even greater awareness of the wasted, unused capacity in our existing infrastructure investments and the need to embrace distributed, decentralized systems. This will enable IT's efforts to gain back control of rogue devices and cloud applications."

Symform's top six predictions for 2013 include:

1. Continued Exponential Data Growth Will Result in Increased Investment in Data Management & Big Data
According to IDC, we are creating 58 terabytes of digital data every second, a number which is expected to increase to 35 zettabytes stored by 2020. Much of this data is a result of what Gartner calls the "Nexus of Forces," or the convergence of social, mobile and cloud information, which makes the upward trajectory of data volumes unstoppable. Similarly, the "Always-On Generation" -- pegged as the most insatiable group of digital media consumers in the world -- is contributing to the influx of data in droves. Given all of these factors, the reality of improved data management is settling in, and Symform predicts that 2013 will be the year that businesses invest more heavily to protect, manage and store that data. The heightened sensitivity around data accessibility and compliance requirements will motivate companies to better understand their data types and how to categorize, secure, and gain business intelligence from the data -- such as mission-critical, business-critical, sensitive or archival data.

2. Cloud Storage On-Ramps Will Enter the Mainstream
An emphasis on data classification and management will help businesses match the appropriate storage requirements, including primary or secondary backup, archiving, and disaster recovery. This, in turn, will drive increased demand and market penetration of the currently burgeoning cloud storage on-ramp or gateway market. Movements toward this include Microsoft's acquisition of StorSimple in 2012, and actions by major traditional hardware vendors such as HP, Citrix, Dell, and major network attach storage (NAS) vendors, to embrace the cloud and extend their on-premise devices to cloud services. Customers, especially SMBs, will increase investment in local storage solutions that include a cloud storage or online backup component. This hybrid cloud storage strategy will prove itself in 2013 and start to move beyond the SMB to the enterprise segment, although large companies will still prefer a private over public cloud implementation. Capabilities such as single-sign-on (SSO), strong data encryption, and overall storage management will become more critical with this trend. Further details can be found in The 451 Group's report on the Cloud Storage On-Ramp Market.

3. As BYOD and Cloud Denial Comes to a Head, IT Will Shut Down Rogue Cloud Usage
A recent Symform survey found that 65 percent of companies "not in the cloud" still allow employees or teams to use cloud services, while 35 percent allow employees to put company data in cloud applications and on mobile devices. This lack of awareness, coupled with the sheer volume of mobile and cloud data, will fuel a renewed focus on protecting and securing that data. In 2013, Symform anticipates IT will regain control by implementing stringent security policies and access control rules for cloud services and employee-liable mobile devices. In many cases, especially among SMBs, third-party consultants or channel partners will be called in to determine whether the proper security policies are in place and being enforced. Symform expects this shake up to result in the decline of popular unsanctioned cloud collaboration or file sharing services that threaten a company's ability to maintain regulatory compliance and adhere to their own internal security requirements.

4. Cloud Economics Will Shift with Low Cost No Longer the Main Value Proposition
With pricing wars amid big players in the cloud storage market, including Amazon and Google, a low-cost value proposition alone will no longer be enough to gain market share. Customers are looking beyond initial costs to consider the total cost of ownership as well as other intrinsic values of cloud services. These additional values include storage, a better leverage of existing infrastructure, extension of on-premise devices to the cloud, pricing flexibility based on SLAs, data recovery, access control rules, and other capabilities or features. With the improved focus on data classification, companies will look for cheaper alternatives to store inactive or archival data, while being willing to pay premiums for highly reliable, scalable and secure cloud storage for active data. This trend will move beyond early adopters of cloud storage, such as consumer-facing Web 2.0 and eCommerce companies, to the overall business-to-business market.

5. Companies Will Demand More Stringent SLAs and Reliability from Cloud Providers
In 2012, customers bore the brunt of outages from cloud vendors including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Apple iCloud, GoDaddy, Rackspace, Google, Microsoft and Twitter. It wasn't cheap. According to Ponemon Institute, the average cost of datacenter downtime across all industries was approximately $5,600 per minute. Similarly, the average reported incident length was 90 minutes, resulting in a cost per incident of approximately $505,500. In 2013, Symform believes more companies will adopt the adage of "fool me once, shame on you -- fool me twice, shame on me" by demanding greater assurances from cloud providers around SLAs and uptime. In an effort to avoid escalating concerns and a potential head-on collision with the government, cloud providers will step up assurances or face the alternative of tighter regulations and increased taxation. Companies will also get smarter about how they architect their infrastructure as a service on cloud provider platforms, building in greater failover and redundancy. As noted above, companies will be willing to pay more for a higher SLA.

6. Companies Will Embrace Distributed Computing Models
Last year, Symform correctly predicted the myth of the "green" datacenter for cloud computing would be debunked. Indeed, the "greenwashing" of infrastructure supporting cloud computing is ending with the move toward more transparent reporting and the utilization of alternatives such as co-location datacenters and distributed architectures. In 2012, both a comprehensive report released by Greenpeace and the New York Times' article "Power, Pollution and the Internet" validated that prediction. The Greenpeace report suggested that cloud computing datacenters account for about two percent of the world's carbon footprint, while the NYT article claimed datacenters worldwide use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants. In 2013, Symform expects that even as large vendors such as Google and Amazon undoubtedly continue rampant datacenter build outs, many businesses will look beyond traditional computing approaches for alternative solutions and architectures. Specifically, both vendors and companies will accept distributed and decentralized approaches to data management, not only for the green benefits, but for the improved utilization of existing infrastructure, increased performance, and global resiliency.

About Symform
The Symform Cloud Storage Network is a better way to store and backup all of your data. As the world's first distributed and crowdsourced data backup solution, Symform enables users to pay with bytes instead of bucks. Every business on the network contributes excess local drive space to the grid in exchange for secure, fast and reliable cloud data backup. Before data leaves the source device, it is encrypted and shredded, redundancy added, and then geo-distributed across the global network. With its proprietary and patented technology, Symform is building the world's largest virtual datacenter using existing Internet infrastructure. Go to or email for more information.

Symform, Symform Global Cloud Storage Network, the Resilient Storage Architecture, and RAID-96 are trademarks of Symform, Inc. References to other companies and their products acknowledge the trademarks owned by their respective companies and are for reference purposes only.

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