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Brighter outlook for storage budgets

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Cloud coverage increasing

If you think the whole cloud storage deal is simply too much hype, you might be partly right. But many of your colleagues see it as a reality. The numbers are up across the board and doubling -- or nearly doubling -- for all types of cloud storage services.

Twenty-three percent of respondents use some form of cloud storage for primary or nearline storage vs. 14% last spring. The most popular application is for disaster recovery (DR), with 11% using cloud services to bolster their DR plans. Last spring, 4% trusted some of their data center primary data to the cloud; this time around, users have more than doubled (9%). Seven percent use cloud storage for some nearline data, while 6% park remote-office data in the cloud.

And it looks like cloud storage usage could pick up significantly. Seventeen percent of those surveyed indicate their firms will use a cloud storage service for DR in 2010; storing primary and remote-office data in the cloud is in the works for 11%, while 10% are thinking cloud for nearline data.

Although those percentages aren't staggering, the numbers for cloud storage service usage do indicate that users are shedding some of their apprehensions about shipping data off site.

Storage virtualization advances slowly

If you're waiting for "the year of storage virtualization," 2010 isn't shaping up that way. There may never be a definitive turning point for storage virtualization

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as its adoption is decidedly more evolutionary than revolutionary. Going virtual is still a major undertaking for a storage shop, and while the move to virtualized storage might be inevitable, it's just not going to happen that fast.

Thirty-two percent of respondents report their shops have virtualized at least some of their storage systems, a slight dip from last spring's 35%, but higher than in previous surveys. While the numbers haven't shifted seismically, they have drifted in the direction of virtualization with steady increases over the past two to three years.

Few companies have taken the full virtualization plunge. Seventy-four percent say some of their block storage has been virtualized, while 73% have virtualized some of their file storage systems. Both of those figures are higher than what we've seen previously, suggesting that more organizations are running pilots or doing limited implementations of storage virtualization technologies.

This was first published in October 2010

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