Global sales of external controller-based (ECB) disk storage -- or disk arrays -- for use in external cloud computing environments are on track to jump by more than half to $417.5 million in 2011 compared with $287.4 million in 2010, a gain of 56 percent, a new report projects.
Additionally, the report, by analyst firm Gartner, predicts revenues to grow to $1.45 billion in 2015.
Gartner uses the term "external cloud" to mean any public, private or hybrid cloud that is offered by a third-party provider that services multiple customers.
To date, ECB disk storage used in external cloud deployments makes up only a small percentage of the overall ECB storage market -- just 1.4 percent, Gartner estimates.
However, the analyst firm expects that segment to grow significantly faster than the rest of that market because many external cloud deployments are still early in the build-out phase.
That's causing somewhat of a land rush as various ECB storage players maneuver for position as the market ripens.
"As external cloud computing emerges as a new segment of the storage market, competition is increasing with leading commercial ECB disk storage vendors developing or acquiring technologies that will serve as a good fit for external cloud deployments," Sid Deshpande, senior research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.
To date, the largest consumers of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) have been mostly smaller organizations, although software-as-a-service (SaaS) has been gaining traction in the last year and a half as well.
"We believe the SaaS providers offer the largest cloud opportunity for ECB disk storage vendors in the short term, as many software service vendors lack a hardware portfolio and may lack the resources to develop their own infrastructure hardware," Pushan Rinnen, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.
"The external private cloud infrastructure market is still in a nascent stage, with hosting providers largely looking to leverage their existing large-enterprise customer base for early customer wins," the statement added.
Gartner's report is entitled, "Forecast: External Cloud Opportunity for the Disk Storage Array Market, Worldwide, 2010-2015."