IDC: The New File Sharing Imperative - April 2013


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IDC: The New File Sharing Imperative - April 2013

  1. 1. IDC 1490I D C T E C H N O L O G Y S P O T L I G H TThe New File Sharing ImperativeApril 2013Adapted from IDCs Worldwide Storage and Big Data Taxonomy, 2013 by Ashish Nadkarni and Laura DuBois,IDC #239273 and Shared Nothing Architectures — A Blueprint for Software-Based Scale-Out Solutionsby Ashish Nadkarni, IDC #239526Sponsored by Hitachi Data SystemsThe "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend will continue to shape IT and have an impact on corporatesync-n-share solutions. IDC expects sync-n-share services to be the next front for storage solutionsproviders. As the user base moves from laptops to mobile devices, IT organizations are eager to findsuitable alternatives to traditional file-based solutions that fall short of meeting newer requirements.As many IT organizations and their users can attest, NFS- and SMB/CIFS-based file sharingsolutions do not work with tablets and smartphones. Prosumers and consumers also need a smartsync-n-share solution that augments corporate file infrastructure so they can keep their personal dataseparate from office data without having to switch devices.This Technology Spotlight explores the trends in file sharing technologies and discusses the role thatHitachi Data Systems plays in this important market.IntroductionBusinesses everywhere are panicking. Their end users are bypassing IT and using publicsync-n-share services, and businesses do not have an alternative to give them. Storage suppliers arecoming to the rescue.To say that the mobile world has taken businesses everywhere by storm is perhaps anunderstatement. In most businesses, end users are largely augmenting their PCs/laptops with one ormore mobile devices and are increasingly looking to public cloud–based mobile sync-n-shareservices as "federation" services for their data.The market for sync-n-share solutions is quickly expanding. Factors that differentiate solutions fromeach other are the background of the vendor and the experience the vendor has in creating anddelivering such solutions for organizations in a secure and reliable manner. The mobile app is not theonly thing that matters; the infrastructure that powers it and the scalability, reliability, and security ofthe infrastructure are also important. At the end of the day, not just personal user data but also —potentially — corporate data is at stake.Shared storage solutions, also known as storage area networks, have become a mainstay of mostenterprise, midsize, and small IT environments today. Once regarded as a very expensive alternativeto direct-attached storage, shared storage solutions have become more affordable and so versatilethat they can handle nearly every workload in the IT datacenter. However, a muted revolution isoccurring in IT environments everywhere: Expansive data. Businesses are storing more data in their environments. Much of it is data thatthey analyze or plan to analyze in order to gain a competitive edge. The expanding data setsinclude not only structured data but also semistructured data (generated by machines) andunstructured data (generated by humans). Unlike archival data, which is basically cold data, thesedata sets need to be routinely analyzed and therefore need to have proximity to a compute layer.
  2. 2. ©2013 IDC2 Newer applications, use cases, and delivery models. Along with server and desktop virtualizationof mission-critical applications, newer applications spanning Big Data, social, and mobile use casesare fast entering mainstream IT. Newer cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service offerings are beingadopted across a broad range of industries to supplant on-premises infrastructure. Advancements and standardization in hardware speeds and feeds. Gone are the days ofslower and proprietary hardware and interconnects (which allowed for healthy fan-out ratios inmost shared storage infrastructures). Newer hardware platforms are made of faster CPUs,memory, and disks and can be connected via ultrahigh-speed networks. The Internet hasbecome fast too, allowing businesses to distribute their workforce geographically.These developments are pushing the envelope on shared storage networks when it comes to certaintypes of use cases such as cloud storage, content repositories, geodispersed data access, andanalytics for semistructured and unstructured data types.BenefitsTo say that the mobile world has taken businesses everywhere by storm is perhaps anunderstatement. Different terms such as mobile revolution and post-PC era point to the samesituation in most businesses: Users who look to public cloud–based mobile sync-n-share services as"federation" services for their data can create a file on one device and then save it to a service andopen it anywhere they want. This has had a phenomenal liberating effect on users that is almostdirectly proportional to the depressing effect on IT departments everywhere.This is an opportunistic situation for storage vendors that see this as a way to recapture somecredibility with IT leaders. However, as bullish and opportunistic as storage vendors may be, the needfor sync-n-share services presents a real opportunity for them to tie together the various componentsof their portfolio into a single solution for the neo-end-user base at their clients.What storage suppliers will do is create a new federation layer for end-user access. Gone are the days ofproviding file-only access to end users via NFS/SMB. Storage vendors can no longer simply offer NFSand SMB/CIFS support and claim their solutions are sufficient for end-user access. As we all know, thedays of an end user relying only on a laptop or a PC are all but gone. Tablets and smartphones — andhence the mobility that comes with such devices — can no longer open file browsers and files on thenetwork. NFS and SMB/CIFS can no longer support this mobile model; they are great for datacenter-based applications, but cloud-based apps need a different model — an API-driven, latency-resilient, andlocally cached file access model.Soon (relatively speaking) the Apple App Store or the Google Play store will be host to sync-n-shareapps from numerous vendors. These sync-n-share apps will allow users to connect to their corporateshare technologies and use them in the same way they use their other sync-n-share solutions. IT willbe able to place policies on these files for retention, authorization, etc. These apps will offer corporateauthentication, meaning that users will no longer need to create a new account and that their existingcorporate user log-ins will work for these apps. Storage suppliers are being thrust into new territory —that is, a customer-driven world in which vendors stand shoulder to shoulder with all the otherdevelopers contributing apps to Apple and Google. Unless IT chooses to outsource this activity,storage managers will have to follow a different set of rules, work with a different set of vendors, andcater to an additional constituency of users who will need support for their mobile apps.From a buyer perspective, IT departments have to look at their suppliers for another set of services— in addition to the datacenter-centric services they are used to. IT departments dealing with endusers will now have to deal with datacenter storage solutions.
  3. 3. ©2013 IDC 3Market TrendsSuch developments have led to the emergence of shared nothing architecture (SNA) as analternative to shared storage environments that IT departments are used to. Shared nothingarchitectures have been around for a few years. IDC predicts that the market for scale-out appliancesand file-based software — which includes the shared nothing segment — will reach nearly $21 billionin revenue in 2016.At a fundamental level, all of the SNA solutions are built using independent compute nodes, eachwith an independent data store. Client reads and writes are serviced by each of the nodes in acollective and distributed fashion. This provides unprecedented scale. Many suppliers are designingsolutions that move the computing and data fabrics closer to each other. Storage suppliers shouldfocus on making solutions built on shared nothing architectures a core component of their portfolio.Suppliers with existing solutions are trying to make their solutions more versatile and appealing to adiverse set of workloads.For their part, IT buyers should shed the mentality that shared nothing architectures do not stack upto enterprise storage environments with respect to performance, reliability, and resiliency. Theyshould evaluate the data model, infrastructure, workload, and quality-of-service characteristics ofeach of the SNA-based solutions. They should keep in mind that unlike traditional storage solutions,every SNA-based solution has very different characteristics.Product ProfileStorage vendor Hitachi Data Systems offers Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) Anywhere for filesync-n-share from a private cloud to mitigate challenges posed by data expansion and mobile devices.HCP Anywhere enables users to sync data on multiple devices, share documents via a secure/smartlink, and access content from any Web-enabled device. For organizations, HCP Anywhere facilitatesthe enforcement of intra/extra-company sharing and reduces storage and network demand posed bysharing documents via email attachments.HCP Anywhere works with a variety of end-user client devices, including iPhones, iPads, Windows,Mac computers, and Web browsers. The product can be used as an add-on to HCP contentmanagement, an on-premise platform that delivers the following benefits: Single-instanced/compressed files Backup-free solution Reduction/elimination of desktop backup Protected HCP Anywhere server data and configuration Security, encryption, and access control Active Directory integration Device management Enforced mobile lock code HCP Anywhere app-specific data wipe Virus scan integration
  4. 4. ©2013 IDC4HCP and HCP Anywhere are designed to address serious corporate data security and governanceissues related to mobile computing. As users share data on devices both inside and outside thecorporate walls, organizations are dealing with risks such as exposed intellectual property andviolations of compliance regulations related to confidentiality and retention. They also have no controlover or ability to audit the content flowing in and out of the corporate network. In addition, IT facesoperational issues such as inefficient storage and network utilization, massive content duplicationwithin email transport payloads, and pressure to control costs while providing robust security.ChallengesHCP Anywhere is the first Hitachi Data Systems product that directly touches the end user.Given that the companys products have traditionally focused on the IT infrastructure, marketingHCP Anywhere could prove challenging for Hitachi Data Systems out of the gate. The company willalso be competing with the perceived low-cost options that public cloud–based solutions can offer.This will likely result in Hitachi Data Systems targeting enterprises at the high end of the IT marketrather than small and medium-sized businesses at the lower end. If Hitachi Data Systems can securea service provider to host HCP Anywhere or find partners to host it or even host their own service, thecompany may be able to get to economies of scale that allow it to attack lower price bands.ConclusionSync-n-share, BYOD, and the consumerization of IT are trends that are profoundly shaping howend users access IT services. IT can embrace these trends or run the risk of seeing more andmore IT services being shopped out to service providers, thereby putting data assets at risk, giving upcontrol, and handing over security capabilities that will end up limiting ITs ability to operate efficiently.By choosing wisely when it comes to enabling sync and share, IT can not only protect its role but alsodramatically expand the services it can offer while gaining efficiencies across a number of differentsystems.If Hitachi Data Systems can address the challenges highlighted in this paper, IDC believes thecompany has a significant opportunity for success in the important market of sync-n-sharetechnologies.A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I O NThis publication was produced by IDC Go-to-Market Services. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented hereinare drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendorsponsorship is noted. IDC Go-to-Market Services makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution byvarious companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee.C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N SAny IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requiresprior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the GMS information line at 508-988-7610 or and/or localization of this document requires an additional license from IDC.For more information on IDC, visit For more information on IDC GMS, visit Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA P.508.872.8200 F.508.935.4015