Feature

Brighter outlook for storage budgets

Ezine

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Disk systems still center stage

Budgets may be inching upward, but storage demands and disk capacity growth continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Once again, disk capacity jumped by double digits and respondents said managing disk capacity made storage configuration and data protection more challenging.

Respondents will add an average of 40 TB of disk capacity this year. That's the same figure reported last spring but 17% higher than noted on last fall's survey. Over the last couple of years we've seen an up-and-down pattern where new disk capacity numbers are high in the spring survey and then drop off in the fall. This time, 2010's spring and fall numbers are the same, so it's safe to assume there were no corners to cut this year.

As expected, larger companies plan to add the most capacity: an average of 81 TB, down slightly from the spring. Midsized companies have been busy, adding an average of 53 TB, which is a big jump from the 35 TB anticipated just six months ago. Likely feeling their budgets squeezed, small companies plan to add 19 TB of additional disk capacity, well off the 25 TB expected last spring, but in line with last year's number.

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Click here to get a PDF of the Purchasing Intentions Survey storage budget, disk storage and cloud services results.

FC vs. iSCSI vs. SSD

Fibre Channel (FC) arrays still represent the biggest chunk of already installed storage systems with 52% of the pie. But the slice has been shrinking from a high of 70% in the spring of 2008. During that same period, iSCSI systems increased from 27% to 38%, while NAS and multiprotocol each picked up a couple of points. With the addition of higher performing SAS disks, iSCSI systems have reduced the performance gap compared to FC and continue to provide economical high-density storage.

It's hard to consider iSCSI an upstart or an SMB-only product anymore. Forty-four percent of respondents either deployed or plan to deploy an iSCSI system this year -- the highest number we've seen. iSCSI growth has been steady if not spectacular, and now there's growing interest in using iSCSI storage in conjunction with virtualized server environments.

Much of iSCSI's growth appears to be coming from midsized firms; 52% of those surveyed are installing iSCSI this year, a six point jump from a year ago. But larger organizations are also increasingly opting for iSCSI; 39% have deployed iSCSI or plan to -- a four-point increase vs. last fall. While attracting larger outfits, iSCSI has maintained its solid presence in small companies, with 42% taking the iSCSI route this year.

iSCSI is still most popular for end-user storage, but it's almost as widely used for backup and email. And if there were confidence issues with early iSCSI systems, users seem quite comfortable with the mature products available today as 44% run their companies' mission-critical applications on iSCSI.

This was first published in October 2010

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