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Lay users embrace the Cloud: Gartner study

Mumbai, June 25, 2012 — Lay consumers have given a thumbs -up to the cloud -- and are putting more and more of their content up there, find analysts at Gartner. While just 7 percent of consumer content was stored in the cloud in 2011, this is seen to grow to 36 percent in 2016.
Says Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner: "Historically, consumers have generally stored content ontheir PCs, but as we enter the post-PC era, consumers are using multipleconnected devices, the majority of which are equipped with cameras. This isleading to a massive increase in new user-generated content that requires storage. With the emergence of the personal cloud, this fast-growing consumerdigital content will quickly get disaggregated from connected devices."
The increased adoption of camera-equipped smartphones and tablets is allowing users to capture huge amounts of photos and videos. Gartner predicts that worldwide consumer digital storage needs will grow from 329 exabytes in 2011 to 4.1 zettabytes in 2016. This includes digital content stored in PCs,smartphones, tablets, hard-disk drives (HDDs), network attached storage (NAS)and cloud repositories. An exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes or 1000 petabytes. A zettabyte is 1000 exabytes.
The bulk of the cloud storage needs of consumers in the near term, will be met by social media sites such as Facebook, which offer free storagespace for uploading photos and videos for social sharing. Ms. Verma said that while online backup services are the most well-known cloud storage providers,their total storage allocated to consumers and "prosumers" is small relative to that maintained by social media sites.
Average storage per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016. In 2012, Gartner believes that the adoption ofcamera-equipped tablets and smartphones will drive consumer storage needs. In the first half of 2012, a shortage in supply of Hard Disk Drives as a result of the floods in Thailand provided an impetus for cloud storage adoption, leading to an unusual overall growth rate between 2011 and 2012.
On-premises storage will remain the main repository of consumerdigital content, although Gartner predicts that its share will progressively drop from 93 percent in 2011 to 64 percent in 2016 as the direct-to-cloud model becomes more mainstream. Cloud storage will grow at an aggressive pace duringthis period. In the Asia/Pacific region, Japan and South Korea will witness thehighest growth in cloud storage, where CSPs have been offering online storageand sync services for some years.
"As storage becomes a part of the personalcloud, it will become further commoditized. Therefore, online storage and sync companies need to have a strategic rethink about their future approach" feels Verma.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Forecast: Consumer Digital Storage needs 2010-2016"