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|Bottom line on 2004 spending|
Infrastructure keeps evolving
The second surprising area of frugality is network hardware, where the picture seems paradoxical. Despite network hardware dropping to only 9% of the overall budget, respondents continue to develop their infrastructure. But for many, the initial (costly) push into a storage area network (SAN) is past history: SAN growth was cited by 41% of survey participants as their primary reason for buying new switches.
Storage groups will deploy more fabrics; respondents cited growth from a current average of 2.3 fabrics to 2.6 by the end of 2004. Most users will go from two or three fabrics to three or four this year. The mix of large and small switches they'll use has changed, too: While small switches continue to predominate, a significant number of users are deploying switches with more than 128 ports (see "Switch sizes growing").
That probably corresponds to a shift in the way users are architecting their storage networks (see "More complex fabrics on the way"). While SAN islands are still the largest group, two-thirds of respondents now cite director-based and core/edge fabrics. Respondents aren't necessarily looking beyond switch architecture to structure their fabrics, however. Only 7% are implementing virtual SANs, and 57% have no plans or are definitely not implementing them.
If SANs are beginning to develop some structure, they're also going to become more diverse. An astonishing 38% of respondents say they will deploy iSCSI SANs in 2004 (see "Most shops will deploy IP storage"), and nearly a quarter say they will deploy FCIP.
Convergence with network-attached storage (NAS) continues as well, with 27% saying they will implement or have implemented SAN/NAS gateways, with another 35% evaluating them. While SAN/NAS gateways are gaining in popularity, they remain far less popular than direct-attached storage (DAS), NAS (particularly consolidated NAS) or even virtualized pools for storing files.
Given the low budget for network infrastructure, storage managers seem to be betting on lower prices, using older switches that they currently own as edge devices to push the SAN outward and are using IP storage to expand their storage environment.
This was first published in May 2004