Recovery slows for storage shops


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Budgets growing slower

Budget change figures

As the economy swooned in 2009, on a year-over-year basis,

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storage budgets fell into negative numbers for the first time. It took a year for that to turn around with steady but modest upticks to get back to near-respectable numbers. The latest survey, however, is less encouraging. Last year, storage budgets averaged 1.9% higher than the previous year’s; this time the difference is only 0.8%. Still a positive number, but it appears storage managers won’t have a lot more to spend in 2012.

In dollar terms, the average 2012 storage budget is approximately $2.7 million, off about 10% from 2011. Big and midsize companies will do more belt tightening than smaller firms: The average enterprise budget is $7.5 million, down almost 10% from last spring, and midsize budgets slipped 8% to $2.4 million. With an average storage budget of $1.4 million, the picture’s much brighter for small companies that have struggled as larger organizations recovered.

Key statistic

1.7 petabytes: Average amount of data that companies are managing on all forms of storage media

By the numbers

  • Average company revenue is $1.3 billion, slightly less than last year’s $1.4 billion.
  • Broken down by company size, year-over-year storage budgets have made only small gains: 1.1% increase for big companies, 2.3% for midsize and 0.6% for small companies.
  • Budget money will be allocated as it has been for several years, with disk hardware getting the biggest chunk (35%) followed by staff (14%), software (13%) and maintenance fees (12%).

Disk storage still top priority

Disk capacity: Installed and to be installed


Disk systems are still the heart and soul of any storage operation. Our survey companies reported an overall average of 247 TB of data stored on their disks, with large companies leading with 706 TB; midsize firms reported 277 TB and small companies had 106 TB. Those are pretty staggering numbers, which will only grow in 2012 as companies add an average of 41 TB of disk capacity.

For the first time since we started asking back in 2008, Fibre Channel (FC) wasn’t the most popular type of storage system installed. With 58% reporting that they’re running network-attached storage (NAS) gear, those file storage systems lead the way, with FC (43%) and iSCSI (42%) trailing. Looking at plans for 2012 disk-related expenditures, the biggest chunk (34%) will once again go for additional hard drives for existing storage systems -- a trend we saw starting back in 2007. New NAS systems are the next-highest priority at 17%, with the rest fairly equally split among FC and iSCSI storage-area networks (SANs), hybrid systems and direct-attached storage (DAS).

Key statistic

24% say price is the main factor in choosing a primary disk system vendor.

By the numbers

  • Small companies will add 22 TB of capacity, midsize firms will need another 52 TB (second-highest hike we’ve ever seen) and big companies will add 89 TB.
  • For respondents planning to buy storage arrays, 43% will go with midrange systems while 32% will opt for low-end systems.
  • Twenty-seven percent will buy DAS for new file storage in 2012; the rest will split their spends among NAS filers (19%), NAS gateways (15%), virtualization (11%), clustered systems (9%) and the ubiquitous “other” (19%).

This was first published in May 2012

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