The regional landscape for enterprise storage is in the midst of change, as spending in emerging markets begins to outpace spending in more mature regions.

According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC): Central Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMA) will surpass Japan in terms of enterprise storage end-user spending in 2014. And by 2015, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan – APeJ) will unseat a struggling Western Europe as the second largest region behind only the US.

“Some emerging regions, specifically, APeJ, the Middle East, and Africa, will continue growing at high rates, fuelled by long-term demands for storage and the creation of new storage infrastructures in fast-growing economies,” says Natalya Yezhkova, reseach director: storage systems at IDC.
“Other emerging regions are expected to maintain growth rates that are comparable to those of more mature regions.”

Overall, after two years of exceptional growth, the enterprise storage systems market has come back to earth as users embrace more efficient ways to store data. End-user spending is now expected to grow at a modest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4,1% during the 2012-2017 forecast period, reaching $42,5-billion by 2017.

However, a slowdown in revenue growth is no indication that end-user demand for storage capacity will be diminished. Digital media and content, data protection, and archiving will be among the major drivers behind continuous demand for more storage capacity.

“Adoption of storage efficiency technologies and cloud services will contribute to modestly slower growth in enterprise storage system capacity shipped,” adds Yezhkova. More than 102 exabytes (Eb) of external and over 36Eb of internal storage system capacity will be shipped in 2017, still significantly higher than the 20Eb external and 8Eb internal storage shipped in 2012.

To store the data in the most efficient way, users must not only implement various technologies that help eliminate redundant copies of the data or boost utilisation rates of available storage assets, but also increasingly consider moving beyond their own data centres and adding third-party storage services (public and private) to the pool of viable storage options.

Additional findings from IDC’s forecast include the following:
* Emerging regions (APeJ, CEMA, and Latin America combined) will account for one third of worldwide enterprise storage systems spending by 2017, up from 28% in 2012;
* Annual growth in storage capacity shipped is expected to remain moderate – 35% to 40% for external storage and 33–38% for internal storage; and
* Customers from emerging regions are less tied to legacy infrastructures and are more open to considering a broad range of solutions, including products from regional and local suppliers and cloud service offerings.