NGDP forecast: CDT, WDS, VTL, COS

By Kevin Komiega

—A wave of new technologies has emerged over the past few years that collectively—despite being over-hyped in some instances—appear to be poised to change how users architect their data-protection strategies. And, until recently, industry analysts have not quantified the potential market for these technologies. But a report released this week from the Taneja Group research and consulting firm sheds some light on the potential market for emerging data-protection technologies.

The report, "Next Generation Data Protection Forecast, 2006-2010," covers four technology/product categories: continuous data technologies (CDT); wide area data services (WDS); virtual tape libraries (VTL); and capacity optimized storage (COS).

Collectively, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45%, representing almost $3.55 billion by 2010.

The Taneja Group's data is based on several sources, including analysis of vendors' performance and projections, as well as input from more than 1,000 end users.

The research firm defines CDT as not only continuous data protection (CDP), but as an umbrella label for any technology that can restore data from any point in time. WDS technologies include wide area file services (WAFS), WAN optimization, and application acceleration products. For the purposes of the report, any virtual tape library or product with an interface that emulates a tape automation system is considered a VTL. And finally, the COS category consists of any device or piece of software that provides a compression ratio of more than 2:1. Some examples of COS are data de-duplication or single-instance-storage products.

"There has not been a lot of research in terms of the size and scope of emerging technology markets in general. We focused on data protection because there is a sea change of new technologies out there," says Steve Norall, a senior analyst at the Taneja Group.

Perhaps the most significant technology shift detailed in the report is the growth and eventual integration of VTL and COS solutions. According to the report, the VTL market will continue to experience rapid growth, reaching more than $1 billion by 2010. By that time, according to Norall, almost all VTL vendors will incorporate COS technologies such as data de-duplication into their solutions. The resulting combination of VTL and COS technologies will become the number-one competitor to traditional tape-based automation systems, but that doesn't mean it's time to move the hands forward on tape's doomsday clock just yet.

"People are continually saying that tape is dead. We're not that aggressive. Tape is on a slow, steady decline, but people tend to deploy new technologies such as VTLs and COS alongside legacy tape deployments," explains Norall. "Tape will still be a part of the IT landscape for quite a while."

The Taneja Group is also forecasting rapid growth for the WDS market, which includes technologies such as WAN optimization, WAFS, and application acceleration products. In fact, the research firm predicts a 50% CAGR through 2010.

"We are very bullish on WDS technologies because they are being driven to some extent as data-protection technologies, but there is potential for other applications such as consolidation. WDS is causing enterprises to rethink their ROBO [remote office, branch office] strategies," says Norall.

CDT represents the most immature portion of the emerging data-protection market and was the most difficult to analyze, according to Norall. "There are a lot of different vendor approaches to CDT and there's a lot of marketing buzz around it, but there has not been much activity in terms of large-scale deployments," he says.

However, Norall predicts that the CDT category is on the verge of significant growth, in part at the expense of the traditional backup-and-replication markets. The Taneja Group is forecasting that CDT will erode market share from traditional copy creation technologies, such as replication and snapshots.

"CDT products are ultimately a superior substitute for copy and creation technologies currently in use by enterprises. They are superior to snapshots and, in some cases, they can replace replication technologies and deliver better service levels in the process," says Norall.

For more information on CDT, see the "Continuous Data Technologies: A New Paradigm" White Paper, at www.taneja.com. In addition, the March issue of InfoStor will include a feature article on CDT.

This article was originally published on January 31, 2007