Where Are Companies Storing Their Big Data?

Big Data

No discussion of storage is complete without a thorough analysis of storage devices. According to empirical data from Statista (a global stats portal), the worldwide unit shipments of hard disk drives (HDD) from 1976 through 2025 peaked in 2010 at 651.32M units, before levelling out at 283.37M units in 2021. The shipment of HDDs through 2025 is expected to slowly increase towards 300M. It’s interesting to point out that in an era where data requirements are steadily increasing, HDD numbers are steadily decreasing. 

The statistics should not be misconstrued however: declining demand for HDDs is being compensated for by way of increased demand for cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox – a popular storage app. In terms of cloud computing statistics and facts, the use of networks of remote servers is growing at a steady clip, for the processing, management, and storage of data. In 2020, cloud computing generated an incredible US$300 billion in revenue, with rampant growth expected in 2021 and beyond. Cloud storage options are highly desirable, since it is a technology-rich pool of resources, with low barriers to entry. Clients – personal and business alike – get to select from personal/private business models, public business models, and hybrid cloud-based systems. 

By far the biggest component of cloud computing technology is SaaS, otherwise known as software as a service. This segment makes up the lion’s share of the cloud computing market. Through SaaS, clients pay a premium to access databases, and software. Beyond SaaS are other services such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) for developing applications. Major PaaS providers include the likes of Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. Then there is Infrastructure as a Service, (IaaS). This encompasses virtual machines, networking tools and resources, servers and storage. Viewed in perspective, the cloud computing market is a thriving hub of activity with IT services spending expected to reach $1073 billion in 2021 

Cloud Computing Technology Usage Stats

Cloud Computing Technology Usage Stats

An academic report by Andra-Ileana Neicu1, Anamaria-Cătălina Radu2, Gheorghe Zaman2, Ivona Stoica2,* and Florian Răpan on cloud computing usage in SMEs attempted to quantify important information regarding SMEs and cloud usage. The conclusions found that SMEs are increasingly willing to adopt information technology, including the IoT, cloud computing, and visualization technologies. SMEs are now an emerging market for cloud providers, and these providers are turning to SMEs for determining how best to increase adoption rates.

The significance of public cloud providers such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have completely redefined the cloud storage market. Businesses across the board are turning to public cloud providers and private providers for their storage strategies. Beyond cloud-based technology, businesses are investing heavily in IoT, BYOD, AI, and other forms of IT. The use of local storage systems such as hard disk drives, servers, and personal networks are losing favor to the greater efficiency, storage capacity, utility value, and cost effectiveness of cloud-based services.

Dropbox Redefines Cloud-based Storage

As one of the premier names in the cloud-based storage arena, Dropbox needs no introduction to SMEs. This powerful application is available through the Google Play Store, where it has received a rating of 4.2/5 from well over 2 million reviewers. Dropbox is regarded as one of the leading storage apps for files, folders, photos, videos, and other multimedia content. Users can instantly back up and sync content to the cloud, with full access on any device. Since this cloud storage to backup service is available online – in the cloud – it is borderless, and available 24/7. 

As far as storage capacity goes, free accounts with a trial period allow 2 TB of storage space. This is sufficient for saving, storing, and managing files, folders, and multimedia-rich content from across multiple linked devices. The Dropbox Professional option is available to Plus customers, and offers 3 TB of storage. With monthly renewals or annual renewals, based on plans, Dropbox dovetails as the perfect business add-on for big data storage. Cloud-based options are the go-to preference for businesses and individuals alike nowadays. The fact that Moores law seems to apply to the cost of HDDs must be evaluated against all the hidden costs. 

While it seems that a relatively inexpensive HDD is the way to go for storage, there are many risk factors such as technical malfunctions, loss, damage, incompatibility, security, and others to consider. There’s also the limitations of physical hard drives to consider too. With cloud-based systems, massive scaling is available instantly, with no discernable security concerns to worry about. Naturally, it depends upon the reputation of the cloud-based storage provider. For many businesses, hybrid systems are being considered when multiple hard drives are used to store duplicate content in secure locations, in addition to cloud-storage options. Nowadays, 4 TB HDDs are the norm, with increasing storage space readily available. 

One of the fails that many businesses make is that they don’t always backup their stored data. Since backup costs are directly related to storage volumes, it takes time, effort, and money to run these backups. The bigger the volume of data to back up, the higher the costs. Beyond merely backing up content, is doing so in such a way that it is easily searchable, identifiable, and found. When searching for data on servers, additional CPU requirements are needed which slows down the process, adding extra headaches for SMEs. Internet connectivity speeds, and local network links are required for bigger file stores. Fortunately, cloud-based technology answers all these questions, and it’s doing so at a decreasing cost!


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