Economy and capacity at odds


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Distribution of disk dollars
An interesting trend we first saw early last year (and that has since been borne out over four surveys) is a significant shift in how respondents plan to spend their disk money. Of the budget dollars slated to go for disks and disk subsystems, 36% of them will be spent to add disks to existing arrays (see "Primary expenditures for disk storage in 2009," below).

Storage managers obviously bought big back in late 2006-early 2007 and are filling out the available capacity of many of their arrays; it will therefore be interesting to see if a shift back to funneling budget bucks into new arrays is imminent as existing systems reach their limits and leases expire. Currently, 22% of respondents' disk dough will be used to buy new Fibre Channel (FC) arrays, with iSCSI, NAS, multiprotocol arrays and DAS sharing the rest of the budget relatively equally.

The types of storage arrays managers have bought or intend to buy this year continue to swing toward midrange systems as those arrays gain sophistication, performance and capacity rivaling traditional high-end systems. For smaller companies, 43% say they will purchase a midrange array vs. 34% last fall; midsized companies saw a similar jump in midrange interest, from 46% a year ago to 55% today. But enterprises are also hitching a ride on the midrange bandwagon, with 47% saying they'll go

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that route vs. 40% last year.

EMC Corp. still leads the pack among the disk system vendors our respondents say they bought from this year. But Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. has been slowly closing in on EMC (moving from seven or eight points behind in 2007 and early 2008) and has cut EMC's lead down to only five points. Picking up EqualLogic helped propel Dell past IBM Corp. and into third place.

And while array features/functionality is still the most important selection criteria, power consumption is gaining attention. Last spring, 33% of those surveyed said power consumption was the most important consideration or a major factor for selecting a disk system; this time, that figure rose to 39%.

This was first published in October 2008

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