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Big changes taking place in the SME NAS market

Hybrid storage arrays, increased use of flash storage, cloud-based NAS and the evolution of big data analytics are significantly impacting the SMB NAS market, according to a new report by Technavio.

The research study reports that the global SMB and SME NAS market was valued at $4.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $18.1 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 33%.

“NAS systems play a vital role in the operational needs of every business. In terms of small office home office (SOHO), SMBs and SMEs need NAS for a cost-effective and reliable private cloud environment that offers exceptional performance, scalability, and durability.

“The market for NAS among SMEs, SOHO, and SMBs is likely to grow significantly due to continuous innovations by vendors, including increased ability to work even in mission-critical environments,” says Rakesh Panda Technavio lead analyst who specialises in data centres.

The top four emerging trends driving the global SMB and SME NAS market according to Technavio’s ICT research analysts are:

Hybrid storage arrays

SAN and NAS were initially considered as two separate storage appliances, with the former being block-based and the latter file-based storage.

Both the storage systems have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to implementation.

Now, vendors in the storage market are offering hybrid SAN-NAS solutions, through which businesses can merge both block and file-based data in a common array, Technavio says.

For example, many systems manufactured by QNAP and Synology are hybrid storage systems, the analysts say.

NAS as an enterprise-class disk array offers many benefits for file-based data operations, and improves scalability.

SAN-NAS architecture is considered to be more complex compared to their individual implementations. However, over the forecast period it is expected to become more simplified for use by enterprises.

Through these initiations, enterprises do not have to be dependent on one particular architecture for their changing requirements.

Increased use of flash storage

SSD storage, commonly known as flash storage, offers greater efficiency compared to the traditional HDD storage device, according to the analysts.

The cost of flash storage is several times greater than that of HDD storage. However, vendors are continuously decreasing their product prices because of an increased demand for storage in the market.

Technavio says it expects flash storage usage in small business environments to equal HDD usage by the end of the forecast period.

Cloud-based NAS

Cloud-based NAS is a remote storage that can be accessed over the internet. It is also termed as cloud NAS-as-a-service, and is often used for backups and archiving.

This storage is hosted by a third-party service provider that charges enterprises based on the capacity and bandwidth utilised.

A cloud-based service can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. However, the data transfer rate is dependent on network connection, Technavio says.

“There are several vendors currently involved in integrating the existing NAS system with the popular cloud storage services such as Amazon S3.

“Western Digital, a provider of external and internal hard drives, offers NAS solutions as My Cloud products,” says Rakesh.

“NAS systems are used in cloud data centers for storage provisioning purposes.

“Integration of on-premises NAS with cloud storage will gain traction in the future among small business, as it allows overall control over the latest data in the NAS, as well as facilitates the backing up and archiving of data in the cloud,” he says.

Evolution of big data analytics

Big data analytics has triggered widespread technological progress in the enterprise storage sector, according to Technavio.

Small businesses implement big data analytics and associated analytical approaches to gain information on business forecasts.

On-the-go business is a popular trend, which is achieved through technological advances in mobile devices and tablets, the analysts say.

Data is constantly being fed into storage systems and traditional storage systems are not feasible to run analytics on massive sets of complex data.

Vendors in the market are offering NAS storage systems that are suitable for analytical purposes and likely to trigger product innovations during the forecast period.

Some of the top vendors in the global SMB and SME NAS market according to the report are: Buffalo Technology, QNAP, Netgear, Seagate, Synology, and Western Digital.