At the end of 2014 NetApp put out a great infographic entitled “Year in Data”. The infographic provided some great insight as to how data is consuming our lives. Everything from social media, NASA photos, State/Local, Games/Apps, and Sports is on-line and generating more and more data.
One of the interesting factoids in the infographic was the fact that “the Sauber F1 Team collects around 200GB of data during every Grand Prix. More than 100 onboard sensors stream live telemetry data to a NetApp mobile data center for real-time analysis and adjustments.”
Not a lot of folks know that Formula 1 racing is a multi-billion dollar a year business. Owners put everything on the line to win races and ultimately win their season. An interesting fact about the F1 teams is that they fund 2 cars during a racing season, typically 50/50. Teams utilize the data they collect to make adjustments on their second car in order to optimize the car to win races. At some point during the season, when the writing is on the wall and the first car is not in contention to have a winning season, the team chooses to dump a much larger percent of money into the second car and get it primed to have a winning season next season.
This isn’t unlike the technology vendor industry. Technology vendors will tend to spread out their development budgets throughout their product line. As one product tends to do better than another product, budgets will shift to put more development support behind the more successful product.
The real question is, in any market, how does a vendor determine if the product(s) they are funding are competitive enough to warrant continuing to spend investment dollars? Do you look at market share as a guide to decide how and where you spend money? If you have a low market share, do you want to get into the market? Has the market been taken by another vendor? I believe that all of these contribute to the decision making process.
As a vendor, identifying:
- The market place and deciding if you have a chance (with your existing technology) to own enough of that market place to warrant spending money on a solution that may not provide the types of revenue you want
- The market and trends going on in that market to decide if investments in current technology is the right decision, or do you invest (buy) new technology to ‘leap-frog’ the competition
Let’s take a specific example; the data protection market within the storage industry.
It is pretty much a given that from an enterprise backup hardware market, you would have to say that EMC owns this space with technologies such as Avamar and Data Domain. In addition, you don’t see a ton of vendor investment going into the data deduplication appliance market. In fact, while I was running IBM’s deduplication business (ProtecTIER), we stopped investing in this market in lieu of investing in other areas.
Today, why would a vendor, not a top 5 player in the data deduplication market, continue to invest in that market place? There may be a few valid reasons, such as “Some of my biggest customers have the existing technology and we can’t let them down.” But if you’re looking to capture a market, you need to look at how the market is evolving and do what Wayne Gretzky calls ‘skate to where the puck is going’.
Copy Data Management is the next generation of data protection. It encompasses more than just backup, it also includes DR, Test/Dev, Analytics, Archive, etc… Copy Data Management is the ability to leverage a copy of your data for multiple business solutions. Data protection is the first use case for copy data management because it is the one application in your environment that creates the most copies. This is what clients want; this is where the puck is going. As a vendor, investing in this solution allows you to get a leg up on the market place called data protection and compete in a more strategic way.