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Top 10 Enterprise, Cloud & Flash Storage Predictions for 2016

Welcome to the latest ChannelE2E Top 10 Predictions for 2016. Today, we tackle our Top 10 Enterprise, Flash and Cloud Storage Predictions for 2016. (How's that for effective SEO while avoiding keyword stuffing that doesn't make sense?)

Now, onto the list...

11. File Sync Shakeout: This is a bonus because I almost forgot to add it. The file sync and sharing market will have a massive shakeout. DropBox's struggle to IPO will continue. Valuations will come down for most "aspiring" file sync companies focused on the enterprise. Two extremes will emerge:

  • Extreme one: Consumer giants (Box, Dropbox) will somehow survive and morph.
  • Pressured in the middle: a small middle class of midmarket and enterprise-class services (got a name in mind? tell me)
  • Extreme two: Healthy SMB players that work purely in the channel (eFolder and maybe Autotask).

Several companies will disappear...

10. All-Flash Data Center?: Hmmm. Sure sounds promising. SanDisk points to economies of scale that will start to drive businesses toward All-Flash Data Centers. That sounds a bit too optimistic to me... sort of like a vendor trying to take a really hot market and make it... super hot. The flash-based array market was $11.3 billion in 2014, IDC found... Now, if only I had dug a bit more to find the growth rate...

Rick Faulk
Intronis CEO Rick Faulk

9. Barracuda Won't Screw Up Intronis: When Barracuda acquired Intronis in September 2015, I wondered if the security company understood how much time and effort it takes for MSP-centric vendors like Intronis to engage, onboard and retain partners? I was relieved to hear many (perhaps all?) of Intronis's top leaders will remain with the company. And Barracuda CEO BJ Jenkins is at least saying the right things to Intronis partners.

8. Microsoft Will Release A Cold Storage/Cool Storage Service: Amazon's success with Glacier and Google's success with Nearline will force Microsoft Azure (as well as other storage clouds) to offer their own cold storage services, according to Alexander Negrash, VP of marketing at CloudBerry Lab.

7. Software Defined Storage -- Almost: After another year of hype (2015, that is), Software Defined Storage (SDS) will move from very early adopter to... perhaps... early mass adopter. Amid all the hype, remember that SDS was only a $1.4 billion market last year -- a drop in the bucket compared to the $141 billion that businesses spent on data center systems in 2014, according to Gartner. Still, SDS is growing fast... generating a 34.9 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2014 to 2019, reaching $6.2 billion by that time, according to Markets and Markets.

Continuum CEO Michael George

6. Continuum's CEO Will Be Correct: CEO Michael George predicts it will become too costly for MSPs and their storage vendors to run backup services in private clouds. Public clouds like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM SoftLayer, he asserts, are far more secure than private clouds and will benefit from ongoing cost cuts. I started making similar statements in private in early 2014, just before I fell off the face of the earth for a sabbatical. Now that I'm back, I'll second George's assertion.

5. Mixed Cloud Storage Forecast: The U.S. SMB cloud storage market will reach $55 billion in 2016, up from $43 billion in 2014, according to Compass Intelligence. That's fantastic growth. But falling cloud storage prices mean customers will pay less and less for more and more...

Austin McChord

4. Datto Won't Launch An IPO. Not yet, at least. I suspect that's more of a 2017 or 2018 timeframe... In the meantime, Datto is a rare unicorn: Valued at more than $1 billion, profitable, and armed with more than $75 million in fresh venture capital.

3. Business Continuity Folds Into Total Customer Experience: With your electric utility, you don't really ask about reliability rates or recovery times. Instead, electricity is part of a total customer experience that drives everything else -- your smart TV, your iPhone charger, etc. Similarly, business continuity will fold into the total customer experience, as MSPs and VARs strive to delight customers (no joke) that want always-on access to every device, application and network service -- regardless of location.

Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell

2. Dell's Buyout of EMC-VMware Will Happen: When it comes to Michael Dell, his business rarely involves a straight path forward. Taking Dell private in 2013 involved a long and winding road against shareholder activists. Now, Dell's proposed $67 billion buyout of EMC and VMware apparently faces some pushback as well. Still, it sounds like Dell will sell off some assets and strengthen its balance sheet ahead of the EMC-VMware deal. Unless our crystal ball is just wrong, we expect Dell to own EMC and control VMware by mid-2016.

1. Whoops: At some point, I will lose one or more thumb drives in 2016. Absolutely guaranteed. In my moment of panic please don't offer to lend me your thumb drive. I'll lose that one, too.

Bonus: Stay tuned for thoughts on Hadoop and grid-oriented storage when we launch our Big Data Predictions list... soon.

Note: ChannelE2E is running 2016 technology predictions throughout the month of December 2016. Submit predictions for consideration to [email protected]. Read all daily predictions here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.