Storage Needs Still Continue To Grow - InformationWeek

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Hardware & Infrastructure
06:05 PM

Storage Needs Still Continue To Grow

If only corporate America's demand for IT products and services matched its insatiable need for storage capacity, the tech recovery would be well under way. Business needs for faster data retrieval and better disaster-recovery procedures continue to fuel sales of enterprise storage, too.

In a recent survey conducted by InformationWeek, Network Computing, and SG Cowen, more than half of 654 business-technology professionals say their companies need more storage. Storage capacity over the past two years grew by an average of 63%. That figure is expected to slow to 57% in the next two to three years, a rate that would still be the envy of many IT vendors.

Midsize companies have the least need for new storage. They probably bought a lot of storage products in previous years and are still working on filling the space.

In the trenches, what matters most is making all this storage equipment work together, yet administrators can't stop long enough to start a real management strategy. While installing software from Computer Associates, IBM's Tivoli, Veritas Software, and others, they hope instead that they have the proper management tools in place.

Companies haven't given up on standards to ensure more-efficient storage management. More than half the study's participants consider interoperability standards somewhat or very important. More than a third are considering the purchase of products using iSCSI, a new protocol that converts blocks of data into a form that won't choke IP networks.

Embracing another new idea, nearly one in five respondents say that they'll use storage applications and management tools residing on the storage network, primarily switches. These companies don't want their capabilities locked up in a server or storage array where they can't easily be shared across different brands.

How do you expect your company's storage management to change in the next 12 to 24 months? Let us know at the address below.

Martin J. Garvey
Senior Editor
[email protected]

Spending Expectations

Will your company's spending on storage increase compared with the previous year?

Survey respondents on average say that 18% of their IT budgets will go toward storage products and services in 2003. Two in five sites anticipate that spending will increase in 2004 compared with this year. Still, storage spending may soften a little moving forward, even if 27% of sites plan an increase in spending this year compared with 2002. It's not hardware fueling the growth: Storage-management products are beginning to attract more IT dollars, too.

Upward Trend

What is the approximate growth of your storage data?

Companies not expecting to spend more on storage often find themselves having to reconsider this view because of changing business conditions. Businesses continue to anticipate rising storage needs, although not at an alarming rate. In the past two to three years, study respondents on average report that their companies' data stores grew by 27%. This percentage is expected to climb in the next two to three years to reach 30%.

Purchasing Factors

How important is the following in your company's purchase of enterprise storage products?

Sept. 11, 2001, taught many companies a valuable lesson about the need for adequate business-continuity planning. Two years later, continuity preparedness continues to push executives to purchase storage products. Disaster-recovery pro- cedures, along with faster data retrieval, are among the top factors prompting businesses to beef up storage capacity. Another key factor: an increase in critical data on the network.

SAN Barriers

What are the major reasons your company isn't implementing a storage area network?

Despite steadily rising demand for storage, not all companies see a storage area network as a viable solution. In most instances, it's cost concerns that cause some companies to spurn storage area networks. Of the 337 sites eschewing SANs, nearly three in five report that cost is the major obstacle. About half report that they saw no demonstrable advantages, while one in five says the lack of standards is preventing use.

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