Feature

Larger SANs drive storage growth

Ezine

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The trend toward disk-based backup is undeniable, but users appear to be struggling with implementation. For the past two years, the majority of respondents indicated they were increasing their spending on disk-to-disk backup, but that percentage has crept up only slightly (from 51% to 55%) in that time. Perhaps more telling is that 25% of respondents haven't picked a disk-to-disk technology (see "Disk backup choices up in the air," below) and 24% haven't picked a primary vendor.

At the same time, storage managers have solidified their intent to

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use tape in the data protection process. While the number of people increasing their spending on tape had dipped below 40% in recent years, that number shot up to 48% this fall. In larger companies (more than $1B in revenue), 55% are increasing tape spending while 60% are increasing disk spending, suggesting that the "either/or" approach has been rejected (see "Tape and disk, not tape or disk"). Tape will be a part of the mix for 90% of those using disk-to-disk backup.

With DR spending strong (52% and increasing) and compliance requirements looming, storage managers are leveraging their tape infrastructures. Tape was tapped by 51% of those surveyed to meet compliance-related data retention requirements. While that was down from 54% a year ago, it still far outpaces disk-to-disk backup at 33%, with nothing else coming close to this figure (see "Tape leads for compliance").

But there's another change that shows users aren't simply reverting to past patterns: the growth of wide-area storage network links. A full 46% of respondents are increasing wide-area storage network expenditures, with another 25% maintaining spending levels. Those investing in wide-area technology are overwhelmingly being driven by their DR plan (60%). DR spending is increasing for 52% of respondents, while another 37% are maintaining DR spending levels.

Tape is a popular option for DR, with 42% of respondents citing it as their primary DR storage expenditure. But 45% cite remote copy or replication as their main DR approach. In a short period of time, storage managers have turned from tapes and trucks to data lines and disks as their DR front line of defense.

As they connect the dots between locations, storage managers are getting a host of other capabilities that come along for the ride: the ability to transmit data between centers for other purposes, notably automating remote site backup. Combined with the trend toward large, centralized fabrics, we're beginning to see the precursors to enterprise-wide SANs.

This was first published in December 2005

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