Comparing The Data Storage Growth Trends Of North America and Western Europe

When you compare the storage environments of organizations in North America and Western Europe, there’s a common perception that “it’s different over there” – and it doesn’t matter which place ‘there’ is! But ESG’s latest research shows that the storage world is a lot more homogenous across the two regions than we have told ourselves. To recast an old saying – it’s two regions separated by a common IT language! Late in 2012 ESG took the Storage Market Trends survey that it had recently conducted in North America and posed the identical questions to a set of demographically equivalent respondents in the UK, France, and Germany. While this quick blog has chosen to mention storage growth, the research covers everything from challenges to technology use and buying intentions.

Frankly, we quietly expected dramatic – or at least (in more restrained research-speak) significant and statistically relevant! – divergence in the results….but the biggest surprise was to see the high degree of similarity between the two sets of responses. For example, data storage growth trends were about the same across the two regions, although we did notice a slight tendency to use more NAS (measured as a percentage of overall installed storage capacity) in Western Europe, and a slightly higher propensity (again as a % of the total) to use internal server-based storage in North America. Another example - as a share of their total installed storage capacity, Western European organizations have so far installed less solid-state storage, but they look to be catching up - as measured by their expected adoption- with their counterparts to the east of the Atlantic.

Meantime the parlous state of economic recovery in some parts of Western Europe, which has generally lagged behind even the lukewarm improvement in North American, doesn’t seem to be noticeably reflected in the differing storage budget changes 'over there’ (which of course, could be ‘over here’ irrespective of where you are!*). In 2013, more than half (63%) of organizations in Western Europe expect their storage budgets to grow compared to 2012, and that number is 59% in North America.

Sometimes the real ‘nuggets’ are in the details as much as the headlines. For instance, when asking respondents about what is the primary element that factors into their TCO analysis, the top-line data looks similar – 65% (N. America) and 60% (W. Europe) state that it is the cost of hardware and software. One might mistakenly assume that this represents another broadly similar area. However, there are groups for whom the primary element in a TCO calculation is the cost of power and cooling – it’s a tiny group in North America – just 3% - but a notable minority – 14% - in Western Europe….reflecting, no doubt, both the tighter supply and consequently generally higher price of electricity on the Eastern side of the Atlantic.

The complete results of ESG’s survey of data storage trends in Western Europe are available in ESG’s Research Report, Storage Market Trends in Western Europe, which not only summarizes the results but also adds additional comparisons between the two geographies and adds our insights as to the causes of both the many similarities and the occasional differences.

*please discuss and enjoy this fun semantic/philosophical conundrum!

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure