Businesses Still Keen On Storage Area Networks - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure
02:49 PM

Businesses Still Keen On Storage Area Networks

Storage area networks, based on high-performance Fibre Channel technology, are still the preferred platform for the most-valuable applications. Yet Fibre Channel is always battling cost questions because it's up against the ubiquitous IP interconnect. Despite this, SAN plans remain robust.

Storage Investment, pie chartProposed storage area network projects are in place at nearly 60% of 300 companies recently interviewed by InformationWeek Research. This is up substantially since 2002, when less than half of sites surveyed about their IT initiatives reported SAN implementation and support as a tech priority. InformationWeek Research finds SAN implementations primarily relegated to the largest companies.

Research company Info-Tech Research Group predicts the data-storage market will grow by 35% this year. Storage area networks are expected to be the strongest segment of the storage market, with Info-Tech predicting a 40% growth in the SAN market in 2005.

Enterprise storage systems usually aren't tied to SANs, although they could be. Most are standalone systems, mainly supporting mainframes. Companies across the board are interested in clustering lower-cost storage components to sit next to Linux and Windows-based server clusters. Looking ahead, it's expected that companies will move away from enterprise storage. Instead, clustered storage based on commodity components should grow exponentially.

Vendors are preparing for this change. EMC Corp. is mostly focused on software and services, even as it unveils a new Symmetrix system later this year. And IBM builds its high-end storage system from its own commodity components used across its server lines, and it has long been focused on services support.

How does your company plan to handle its storage needs? Share your SAN and enterprise storage plans with my colleague Steven Marlin at [email protected].

Martin J. Garvey
Senior Editor
[email protected]

Strong Demand, bar chartStrong Demand

Does your IT division's list of planned projects include the implementation and support of SANS?

Nearly three-quarters of 100 companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more say their IT divisions will implement and support storage area networks this year. This is considerably more than small companies, with annual revenue up to $100 million, or midsize sites, with revenue of $100 million to $1 billion.

Expected Support, pie chartExpected Support

Is enterprise storage a planned 2005 project for your IT division?

While enterprise storage investment is expected to dim over time, investment and support has increased in the last year, according to InformationWeek Research. Nearly half of the 300 sites surveyed about their 2005 IT priorities say enterprise storage implementation and support is a planned IT project this year. Two years ago, only 40% of sites reported the same objective.

Large Sites Lead, pie chartLarge Sites Lead

Will your IT division support enterprise storage this year?

Just as with SAN investments, enterprise storage is predominate among larger companies. Nearly 70% of 100 companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more say their IT divisions will implement and support enterprise storage this year. This is significantly more than small companies, with annual revenue up to $100 million, or midsize sites, with revenue of $100 million to $1 billion.

Data Assistance, bar chartData Assistance

Will your IT division support data-center-utilization and data-center-virtualization software this year?

IT also is expected to assist in the management of data stores to make information easily accessible to authorized personnel. With more data to contend with, larger companies lead in the use of data-center-utilization software. Although organizations also report use of data-center-virtualization programs, it's not as pervasive. Collectively, only 23% of companies report support, compared with data-center-utilization software at 44% of companies.

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