The worldwide file- and object-based storage (FOBS) market continues on an upward trajectory, with revenues expected to exceed $23 billion in 2013 and forecast to reach $38 billion during 2017, claims IDC.
According to the new research, FOBS is the primary factor driving growth in the overall enterprise storage systems market.
"The future of storage is software based," said Ashish Nadkarni, research director for IDC. "FOBS solutions are much more versatile and will quickly outpace more rigid, hardware-based options."
FOBS systems, in the form of software, virtual storage appliances, hardware appliances, or self-built for delivering cloud-based services, are forecast to experience a compound annual growth rate of 24.5 percent from 2012 to 2017.
This does, however, mean bad news for hardware providers in the file servers and scale-up appliances and gateways market, with the market expected to be in decline by 2017.
"Increased versatility will result in more diverse use cases for FOBS," said Amita Potnis, senior research analyst at IDC. "To be successful, suppliers must commit to making their platforms more compatible with server and desktop virtualization, in-place analytics (which IDC calls Compustorage), and NoSQL databases."
"FOBS solutions will continue as the dominating media of choice for applications like archiving and eDiscovery, which are governed by compliance and regulatory requirements."
IDC also predicts that DIY storage will become more prevalent during the forecast period, but that commercial solutions will still experience strong demand.
Outside the datacenter, another big shift affecting storage traffic is the growth of mobile, social, and cloud, all of which are heavily weighted toward IP-based connectivity mechanisms for consuming storage resources.