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Data’s growth spurt still gaining steam

IDC released its annual EMC-sponsored report this week that tries to quantify and forecast the amount of digital data generated in the world. The report includes the usual facts – some fun and others scary — along with predictions and recommendations for IT people.

• From 2013 to 2020, the digital universe will grow from 4.4 zettabytes to 44 zettabytes created and copied annually. It more than doubles every two years, and grows 40% each year. A zettabyte is one billion terarbytes.
• Enterprises were responsible for 85% of the digital universe in 2013, although two-thirds of the bits were created or captured by consumers or workers.
• Less than 20% of the digital universe had data protection in 2013, and less than 20% was stored or processed in a cloud. IDC predicts 40% of data will touch the cloud by 2020.
• The digital universe is growing faster than the storage available to hold it. In 2013, available storage capacity could hold only 33% of the digital universe and will be able to store less than 15% by 2020.
• Most of the digital universe is transient – for example, unsaved movie streams, temporary routing information in networks, or sensor signals discarded when no alarms go off.
• This year, the digital universe will equal 1.7 MB a minute for every person on earth.
• While the digital universe is doubling every two years in size, the number of IT professionals on the planet may never double again. The number of GB per IT professional will grow by a factor of eight between now and 2020.
• Mobile devices created 17 % of digital data in 2013, and that will rise to 27% by 2020.

Recommendations for organizations:
• Designate a C-level position in charge of developing new digital business opportunities, either by creating a new position or upgrading the responsibilities of the CIO or another executive.
• Develop and continuously revise an executive-team understanding of the new digital landscape for your enterprise and ask questions such as: Who are the new digital competitors? How are you going to cooperate with others in your industry to anticipate and thwart digital disruption?
• What are the short- and long-term steps you must take to ensure a smooth and timely digital transformation?
• Re-allocate resources across the business based on digital transformation priorities, invest in promising data collection and analysis areas, and identify the gaps in talent and skills required to deal with the influx of more data and new data types.

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How do you think Microsoft will build its DaaS offering?
Microsoft is going to make its DaaS offering very narrow and suitable to round out its own offerings and solve a specific point problem. There is too much risk to the Windows business to make an excellent DaaS solution exactly the way customers want it, and in so doing they would be handing more client business to Apple and Google. There are also many other products with potentially competing capabilities in the Microsoft server and tools portfolio. You won't see a broad, flexible offering like Desktone coming from Microsoft. This will be an app delivery solution, or it will at least start that way.
Microsoft has shown a willingness to unfairly compete against SPLA partners already, as evident by their Office 365 plan pricing. For example, the Office 365 Small Business Premium plan provides the desktop versions of all core Office apps for $13.25 per user per month, which undercuts SPLA subscribers COST for the Office Pro Plus suite (by itself) by roughly 40%.

To add insult to injury, the Office 365 Small Business Premium plan also includes "free" hosted Exchange, web conferencing and IM, file sharing via SkyDrive Pro, etc. An SMB that is looking for cloud hosting of Office apps, along with cloud storage, is going to legitimately balk at the price an SPLA partner could offer on a comparable package. For SPLA partners, we currently need to provide hosted Desktops, hosting of third-party apps, and other cloud services in order to differentiate ourselves from the Office 365 offering.

If Microsoft decides to become a DaaS provider, they are sure to once again offer plans that far undercut the COST to SPLA partners for Windows Server and RDS licenses, not to mention the huge disparity with Office licensing costs already discussed.

In short, if SMBs are able to get Cloud Desktops, along with hosting third-party legacy apps via VMs running under Azure and accessible from the Cloud Desktop, then SPLA partners simply won't be able to compete.
Regardless of stupid licensing and windows versions, remote apps simply make the most sense. Microsoft strategy is "devices and services" and RemoteApps fit in nicely with this strategy.

In the end you'll have a nice rich client device like a surface, a laptop or even an XBOX with new-style metro apps running side-by-side with web applications. To make the transition easier, Microsoft can seamlessly integrate legacy applications from the cloud.