Reflections on Mary Meeker's 2017 Internet Trends Report

by Steve Pao – June 4, 2017

This past week, Mary Meeker presented her annual trends report. For those not familiar with the report, it’s intended to be read, not presented, and is full of facts and figures generally supporting several trends. In this post, I add my take to the ongoing discussion!


 

At a personal level, the Internet Trends report drives a set of conversations at the family dinner table from bigger issues to the lighthearted. Living in downtown Seattle two blocks from Igneous headquarters, we see a number of the cited trends on display every day!
  • Doormen become foremen. Page 66. The growth of Internet shopping has likewise been increasing parcel delivery by 9% year over year. The staff at our building has definitely felt the pain here.
  • Eating out is increasingly eating in. Page 68. The report cites DoorDash and InstaCart statistics, but here locally in Seattle we're seeing it, too. Tom Douglas, one of Seattle's famous restaurateurs, talked about this in a recent article in Seattle Met where he said "I think having food delivered to your home is essentially the new going out."
  • USA Entitlements = 63% of Spending. Page 341. I appreciated the very civic-minded approach in this report with an intention to educate. While many such as Paul Krugman have created some quotable quotes (e.g., "the U.S. government is — this isn’t original — best thought of as a giant insurance company with an army."), I appreciated the presentation here in the form of data. I personally did not realize that entitlements, led by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, had grown to 63% of the federal budget!

Beyond fueling Pao family dinner conversations, there were significant data points and insights reinforcing the two trends Igneous was founded on — (1) the growth in data and (2) the growing consumption of IT as-a-service.

Data Growth

Mary Meeker credited IDC with the statistics below on page 132.

data-growth-2017.png

While many familiar with the topic could do without another data growth slide (once called "blather"), there are drivers discussed here that have been behind new infrastructure requirements to manage data.

  • Unstructured data becomes a search input. The report cites keyboard and text inputs being replaced with voice (page 46) and image (page 42) inputs. In May 2016, 20% of mobile queries to Google Assistant were made via voice. I also appreciated the Google Lens mention in the deck that describes Google's consumer image classifer. I believe this use of unstructured data on the front-end requires new types of processing and data management on the back-end.
  • Media moving to Search / Find / Serve up (SFS). This year, Global Internet ad spend will pass Global TV ad spend (page 14). In the US specifically, the top 5 network groups were flat to down in network TV minutes delivered, while Netflix grew almost 700% during the same period (page 160). I believe this trend forces the media industry to evolve the infrastructure requirements required to make this whole "Search / Find / ServeUp" (SFS) ecosystem work (page 163).
  • Healthcare at a Digital Inflection Point. Digital Healthcare comprised a whole section of the report starting on page 288. I encourage you to look at it. The hypothesis here is that digital health could have adoption curves more like the technology industry, and that genomics (page 313) has experienced faster cost reductions than Moore's Law.

The key here is that there are fundamental industry changes behind this data growth!

IT as-a-Service

Again, citing IDC and others on page 181, it’s clear that both private and public cloud have been replacing traditional infrastructure.

public-private-cloud-stats-2017.png

While these graphs on cloud adoption may feel to some watchers like clichés, there are some key trends behind the graphs.

  • Cloud concerns are shifting to vendor lock-in and compliance. Page 183. While still significant, data security fell as a “top 3” concern from 2012 to 2015 (42% to 35% of respondents), and uncertainty of costs and savings fell from 38% to 21%. Rising as “top 3” concerns in the same period were compliance and governance from 21% to 27% and lock-in from 7% to 22%.
  • While AWS maintains the lead, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform adoption is rising. Page 182. What’s particularly interesting about this survey is that the data suggests that at least some of the organizations responding are running in multiple clouds. These numbers begin to support the hypothesis that fears of vendor lock-in may force enterprises to think through how they manage usage across mutiple cloud deployments.
  • Opportunities exist for young cloud ecosystem companies. Page 185. This particular slide also mentions Rubrik, a related player in our space whose focus is on secondary storage for traditional VM and structured data.  In contrast, we at Igneous put our focus on file and unstructured data, which are larger and growing at faster rates.

IT as-a-service is rapidly growing, but it’s also clear that it’s maturing, with increased focus on compliance, a diversity of vendors, and a broadening of the ecosystem.


Final Thoughts

As you start to consider how data growth and IT as-a-service affects your business and your industry, we invite you talk to us about how Igneous can help you protect and manage your growing unstructured data in your datacenter with the agility, scale, and economics of cloud.