Analysys has issued a new report called 'Storage Area Networks: New Revenues for Optical Carriers?' the global revenues from SAN traffic and storage service provision carried over a wide area network (WAN) will reach $19.3 billion in 2005, up from US$500 million in 2000.
Data storage and management are now major issues for businesses of all sizes, according to the Analysys study. Organizations need an array of storage facilities and services, including disaster recovery, Web hosting, content warehousing, digital data exchanges, datamarts, disk mirroring, storage sharing, centralized back-up and archiving.
SANs, which are rapidly emerging as the technology of choice in this area, are now being extended from user sites over the WAN by using dark fibre, ATM, Gigabit Ethernet and IP. This, says Analysys, will lead to the creation of huge networked virtual storage and data management systems.
"By using their high-capacity IP optical networks, telecoms carriers, particularly those operating in the metropolitan and wide area networks, can potentially generate significant new traffic and service revenues for themselves," says report author, Tim Hills.
However, while the opportunities for carriers in this new market are considerable, careful assessment is essential, warns Analysys. Success will depend on having the right combination of characteristics for the carrier's chosen segment of the multi-layered storage market.
Analysys believes that moving storage networking to an IP base will help eliminate the need for separate storage and data networks, improve management and flexibility, and allow the offering of third-party managed storage services across the WAN.
"Such services are not only attractive to major corporates, they also have the potential to reach small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often lack the expertise to maintain their own storage solutions," adds Hills. "Needless to say, affordable IP broadband access will be crucial to opening the SME market for WAN SANs."
The report also describes the evolving SAN technologies, their implications for the WAN, and the competitive landscape that is developing in response. The study also measures the revenue opportunity to 2005, and examines telecoms carriers' prospects as bit carriers and as storage service providers (SSPs).