External storage market seen hitting $546m in the Middle East and Africa region
The external controller-based (ECB) storage market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is forecast to reach $546 million in 2012, a 16.5 percent increase from 2011 revenue of $469 million. Gartner, a leading IT research and advisory company, said the market is underpenetrated and represents a significant long-term opportunity for storage hardware vendors, but Gulf countries' spending is highly tilted toward government-backed projects across verticals.
The largest proportion of storage hardware spending is centered around a few key countries that have a high adoption rate of the latest data center technologies, such as South Africa, Turkey, Israel, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The enterprise segment in the MEA market still displays very traditional purchasing behaviors, with storage area network (SAN) demand being driven by database workloads and other structured applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM).
The service provider segment in MEA is displaying signs of innovation and adoption of the data center technology stacks, fabric-based computing architectures and storage arrays that are specifically targeted at the service provider cloud environment. “Buyers prefer to purchase storage and wider integrated solutions from one vendor or channel partner, so that they can make it responsible and accountable for the products and offerings and reduce operational complexity,” said Sid Deshpande, senior research analyst at Gartner. “Network-attached storage (NAS) is expected to grow its share from 24 percent of the storage hardware market in MEA in 2011 to 41 percent in 2016, indicating a strong opportunity for storage hardware vendors.” Israel, Turkey and South Africa combined constitute 52 percent of ECB storage revenue in the MEA region.
The other major buying centers for data center hardware are the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “We have observed significant differences in the technology maturity and purchasing behavior of various countries in the region, with some of the mature adopters being open to opting for the latest best-of-breed storage technologies,” said Deshpande. “However, organizations in the less developed countries have been at the completely opposite end of the spectrum, with other factors coming into the decision-making process. In these less-developed markets, the onus is on storage vendors to educate, certify and equip channel partners to promote their technologies among the end-user community,” he added.