Business Computing, New Straits Times (Malaysia)
June 16, 2005
Special Report: Race on to capture
Asian storage market
By Chandra Devi
THE race is on to capture the lion's share of the Asia-Pacific
storage market. With organisations in this region said to be investing
more on information technology (IT) and much of their spending is
focused on storage management solutions, storage providers are all out
to exploit this burgeoning market.
International Data Corp (IDC) in its Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) IT
Solution Spending 2004-2008 Forecast report, states that among the IT
solutions examined, storage saw investments close to US$4.7 billion
(RM17.9 billion). Organisations in this region will spend more on
infrastructure, business intelligence, enterprise business applications
and security, and the growth of data generated by these implementations
and demand for data will accelerate the deployment of storage
The booming storage market has prompted big and small players to either
make an entry into or strengthen their existing positions in the
EMC, Cisco and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) are among the established
names which are gearing up new technologies and strategies to garner
more market share.
Smaller players have also begun making their entries into the region
with their innovations. Among them are United States-based Intransa Inc
and Acronis Inc. These companies are making their foray with the
promise of better, more reliable, easier-to-manage technologies at
cost-effective prices, in the hope of gaining a decent market share.
They also set their sights on Malaysia, thanks to reports that indicate
a strong storage market here. IT spending is expected to reach US$2.9
billion this year, and IDC projected a growth of about four per cent in
the total external storage market annually. Storage spending is
expected to grow from US$67 million this year to US$76 million in 2008.
The strongest growth areas are in storage area network (SAN), network
attached storage (NAS), storage replication software, storage resource
management software, and in Windows/Linux markets.
Alongside Malaysia, countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand
and India, have also been identified as the fastest-growing markets for
storage, while China, Korea and Australia are the largest storage
HDS. For HDS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, taking market
share will be its priority, and it plans to achieve this via its
Riding on its integrated storage solutions strategy, application
optimised storage (AOS), HDS expects its storage business to grow 4.5
per cent year-on-year to US$2.6 billion this year.
For the fourth-quarter last year, its business was up 11 per cent
sequentially, largely due to strong adoption of its TagmaStore
Universal Storage Platform.
The platform powers virtualisation breakthroughs, including logical
partitioning, management of externally attached heterogeneous storage,
and universal storage-agnostic replication.
Bruce Symes, vice president and general manager for Asia at HDS, says
virtualisation will be a critical element in delivering simplified
storage management in heterogeneous storage environments, and the
TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform will lead the way.
HDS, which claims to be larger than EMC in Asia in terms of market
share, also has a change of gameplan. Instead of focusing on the
enterprise market which has been its forte, it plans to concentrate on
the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment which it had not
focused on, to grow its business further and become more visible in the
HDS intends to transfer its experiences and best practices in the
enterprise space to the SME market.
"SMEs, just like large enterprises, are beginning to view storage as a
strategic element to their businesses, and want simplified
cost-effective solutions to manage and protect their growing critical
data. They too need more terabytes of storage at a very cost-effective
price and our challenge is to help them meet storage needs, simplify
storage infrastructure, manage growth, and manage storage assets and
infrastructure at an affordable price," he adds.
In Malaysia, HDS plans to double its revenues this year. Recently, HDS
appointed Lau Bik Soon as its new country manager. Lau was formerly the
sales director for commercial market at Cisco Systems Malaysia and with
this appointment, HDS hopes to accelerate its market position.
EMC. Another established player in the storage market, EMC sees its
business growing as information lifecycle management (ILM) emerges as a
major IT trend in the region.
EMC Computer Systems (M) Sdn Bhd's managing director K. Raman says the
company is seeing customer interest and adoption of ILM strategies
continuing to increase, beginning with individual applications, such as
e-mail, and moving closer to application-independent ILM
infrastructures with increasing levels of automation.
While ILM won't be implemented enterprise-wide overnight, he says
customers will continue to demand for tools to allow them to easily
enable ILM strategies and move data to appropriate storage as its value
and service level requirements change.
"The need to safely and cost-effectively archive and retrieve data
requires both a way to virtualise storage resources to make them easily
accessible to different applications, and a tiered approach to migrate
data based on its value. ILM provides customers with a strategic
approach to get the most value from their information, at the lowest
total cost of ownership, at every point in the information lifecycle,"
EMC, he says, has set its sights on financial services institutions and
telcos, especially those that require high-performance business
continuity solutions to maximise the business value of data assets, and
yet remain competitive.
Just like HDS, the company has come on board with storage
virtualisation and is confident that its Invista Network Storage
Virtualisation Platform will gain market share compared to rivals HDS'
virtualised TagmaStore system and IBM's SAN Volume Controller product.
Unlike others, Raman explains that EMC's network storage virtualisation
solution deploys the industry-recommended out-of-band storage
virtualisation approach while leveraging the intelligent switches of
the leading network companies such as Cisco, McData and Brocade. By
leveraging these switches, EMC believes it has the edge.
While the company has been an enterprise and SME market player, Raman
says EMC plans to further penetrate the SME market space with focused
programmes and products.
Acronis. A new player in the Asian market, US-based Acronis views the
market as a significant source of growth. The company, which claims to
have an extensive presence in Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia and South
Africa, provides disaster recovery, backup and restore, partitioning,
boot management, privacy, data migration, and other storage management
Its chief executive officer Max Tsypliaev believes the Asian market
especially is not well explored and there are vast opportunities for
business here. The market, he says, is open for new technologies and
will be easy adopters of such technologies.
The plan, he adds, is to stay ahead of competition by anticipating the
consequences of new trends and offering tools to meet the needs of
enterprises. Acronis, he says, offers storage management solutions that
are technically advanced for mission-critical applications and easy to
use. "By being first and fast to market, flexible, offering simplified
storage tools, complementing new markets and doing it cost-effectively,
we intend to garner more market share."
Although the company's focus has been on enterprises and across the
financial, educational and government sectors, it has opened up to the
SME and consumer markets. The move, Tsypliaev explains, is driven by
the fact that storage needs and security arrangements cuts across all