The Middle East and other emerging regions have the potential to take the lead in the data storage market, according to a senior executive at the IT company EMC.
Cloud computing and data centre storage solutions are starting to enjoy greater uptake in the region as more companies transfer their data on to both the public and private clouds.
"Emerging regions have an opportunity to leapfrog because they don't have the legacy issues," said Amitabh Srivastava, the president of the advanced software division at EMC.
"Whenever the industry is at an inflection point, that's when you can leapfrog and that's the point that emerging markets are at the moment. They have the opportunity to lead." Analysts, however, offer caution with regards to the speed of cloud computing catching on in the region. "Cloud computing is very much in its infancy in the Middle East," said Camille Mendler, the principal analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media. "Telecom operators like du, Etisalat, Omantel and STC are leading cloud infrastructure investment, notably in data centres, but it will take more to make the Middle East's cloud market take off."
Clarifying legal uncertainty regarding cloud-computing services and greater support of the small to medium-sized enterprise sector, the primary beneficiary of cloud services are needed, Ms Mendler said.
Data generation and consumption have been growing exponentially as more devices go online. The research firm IDC has defined three different platforms: infrastructure, PCs and computers, and mobile devices. It is the latter that generate the most data. According to IDC, by 2020, 40 zetabytes of data will be generated, 50 times the amount created last year. By 2016, 86 per cent of workloads will be deployed on private cloud environments and 5 per cent on public clouds.
"Today you have to have data with cloud properties. Data has to be always available and accessible anywhere, any time. We are entering into a data-centric world and it is important to pause and rethink how storage will be managed and delivered," said Mr Srivastava.
His comments came on the sidelines of the EMC World event in Las Vegas, where the company launched Vipr, which it claims is the world's first software-defined storage platform that enables clients to manage the storage infrastructure such as data centres and the data stored within it. "Vipr is unique in the industry and lets you do two fundamental things, reduce costs and improve efficiency in existing systems and applications and lets you manage the data itself," said David Goulden, the president and chief operating officer of EMC.
The software will become available in the second half of this year and is intended to act as a hybrid between public clouds such as Amazon.com and Google.com and private clouds.
Whereas previously companies had to rely on service providers to manage their data, Vipr enables them to have complete control over the data they put up on the public cloud and on private clouds. "Customers need a cheap and effective way of managing data. They want a seamless transition to the cloud. They also want an open environment and to be able to plug in their infrastructures that they have invested in," said Mr Srivastava.