Feature

Brighter outlook for storage budgets

Ezine

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Tape redux

While its overall numbers continue to trend downward, tape remains a viable part of most companies' data protection schemes. A third of respondents plan to reduce their reliance on tape this year, while 22% will increase tape usage. The latter is one of the lowest figures we've seen, while the 33% cutting back on tape is the highest.

So it's hardly a rosy picture for tape vendors, although LTO-5 is showing some signs of possibly breathing a little life into the technology. For those who plan to purchase tape libraries, 20% would outfit those rigs with LTO-5 drives -- a relatively high number considering LTO-5's newness. LTO-5's 1.6 TB capacity (compressed) makes it an ideal fit for long-term archival, but it also advances another trend we've tracked: tape libraries are getting smaller. The average number of slots in planned tape library purchases has dropped again, this time to 92, which is an all-time low on our survey.

It looks like data deduplication is also taking its toll on the beleaguered tape market. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed will spin off at least some backup data to tape -- a drop of 14 points compared to three years ago. With the help of dedupe, users can keep more backup data nearby on disk for longer periods of time and that means less of it hits tape.

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Click here to get a PDF of the Purchasing Intentions survey tape as backup format and disk-to-disk backup strategies standings.

Backup = Disk

General spending for disk-based backup is still behind pre-recession levels. With 39% increasing their 2010 disk-to-disk (D2D) spending (about the same as last spring and a few points lower than fall 2009), it looks like a combination of maturing D2D technologies and budgetary constraints have slowed spending just a bit.

Using disk as a file-system target for backup is still the most popular D2D application with 47% having that current setup. Dedupe is in use at 25% of companies, and another 29% will implement data dedupe this year.

When asked specifically about their spending plans for deduplication technologies, 38% will spend more while 33% expect to maintain current spending levels. The portion of respondents who indicated "no plans" for dedupe reached an all-time low of 20%.

We keep expecting continuous data protection (CDP) to take off, especially as it's so well suited to provide data protection for virtualized servers, but its flight has been delayed yet again. Only 9% will buy a CDP product this year and the overall plans for CDP show only a one point hike for those who will increase their spending.

If CDP is still struggling to find its place on the backup scene, cloud -- or online -- backup appears to be carving out a niche fairly quickly. Thirty-four percent of respondents use some form of cloud backup vs. 19% a year ago and 13% in 2008. Email and databases are still the two most popular applications to back up into the cloud, but there's significant interest in backing up user files and laptops using cloud services.

This was first published in October 2010

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