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Priorities for 2006
We followed up our security survey with a similar survey on budget priorities. The first thing we noticed when analyzing the data was that ILM was the No. 1 priority for all respondents for this coming year (see "Top priorities for 2005 and 2006").

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When we contrast this with the priorities for last year, and segment the answers by company size, we see that ILM has pushed virtualization and security down a rung or two on the priority scale.

Where do you try to save money?

This would seem to be a good thing; perhaps IT is waking up to the value of classifying information rather than just bits. Indeed, as I discussed in my December 2005 column ("Is ILM for real?"), ILM is the grand unifying principle that can elevate all of IT into a key business strategy component. But it doesn't seem as if this is what this finding actually means.

Looking at the areas in which storage managers are seeking to save money, we find utilization and unit costs to be the most common, with archiving placing third (see "Where do you try to save money?"). This points to a focus on simple tiered storage rather than on understanding a true information lifecycle.

Growth of storage environments continues unabated, even though many companies have no idea what all of this new data is. Our survey found that a majority of online data is protected with one or more mirrors, each doubling the total capacity used for storage. In addition, a majority of companies replicate more than 25% of their data offsite, multiplying the amount of storage used yet again. And with less than one-third of respondents looking at data retention, it seems that the looming iceberg of uncontrolled data growth is getting little attention.

This was first published in April 2006

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