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File Servers Kicked to the Cloud

I'm not a huge fan of research commissioned and released by vendors, since it is clearly self-serving. But that doesn't mean it's wrong (nor is it necessarily right). Just call me a bit skeptical.

Earlier this month, cloud file storage provider Egnyte (I don't know what the name means either) released research done by Forrester Consulting arguing that on-premise file servers should and will be killed off. Actually, the "killed off" part seems to be Egnyte's conclusion, which seems to be a reach.

Here's what the study found: Fifty-seven percent of IT pros surveyed think their file servers cost far less to run than they actually do. When IT runs the real numbers, they are a magnitude larger than what they initially imagined. A second piece of the puzzle is the fact that a bit over 40 percent of "information workers" use online storage for work purposes, services that IT did not specify or approve and don't manage.

Based on this, file servers are too expensive and workers are already used to online storage, which Egnyte claims is far cheaper. Putting two and two together, file servers should and will die. The replacement is a hybrid cloud where cloud file storage is synced with an on-premise NAS, which won't be so much a traditional file server as it is a "virtual appliance."

I have no doubt that plenty will move in this direction, and some may even use Egnyte's online storage services. (Did I mention that Egnyte sells the technology that will supposedly kill off the file server?) But certainly not everyone will, especially as server prices continue to plummet. Do you believe vendor-backed research? And in particular, how much sense does this report make? You tell me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 11/15/2011 at 12:47 PM


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