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Storage growth drives buying plans

Ezine

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Disk takes big slice of budget pie
Disk and disk subsystems will account for the biggest chunk of 2006 spending, with respondents reporting that, on average, 43% of their budgets will go toward adding disk capacity. This planned allocation was consistent across all sizes of businesses, varying by only 1% or 2%, but the types of storage arrays companies will purchase correlates directly with their size. Bigger companies are opting for high-end arrays, midsized firms are casting approximately half of their disk budgets toward midrange systems, while smaller companies are targeting SATA/ATA arrays for more than half of their disk spending. Crossmark's Orndorff saw his storage budget rise this year, but the increase was earmarked primarily for added capacity. Even with the additional disk, Orndorff expects his HP Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) to "max out" this year.

Buying or leasing disk aren't the only options, as John Williamson, manager of capacity and availability at Philips Semiconductors North America in San Jose, CA, attests. The company has approximately 21TB of installed capacity, primarily on Network Appliance (NetApp) Inc. boxes. It owns some of the NetApp devices, but other capacity is delivered on demand. "We have a utility agreement, storage on demand," says Williamson, "so we basically pay for usage." There may be some modest overall cost savings but, according to Williamson, the real advantage is that "we get to spread it out and we're not taking the risk."

SAN arrays are the top disk subsystem priority for companies of all sizes (see "Where disk spending will go"). SAN array spending outdistanced NAS and DAS spending--even for small businesses. SAN arrays are expected to account for more than a third of disk spending, easily outdistancing NAS (22%). DAS was the leading choice for file storage, but was favored by only a slim point and a half over NAS gateways. In the last two years, NAS gateways have become increasingly popular alternatives for file storage, growing from being the choice of approximately 20% of respondents in the spring of 2004 to nearly 35% in the current survey (see "NAS gateways gain favor for file storage"). Consolidation efforts and the desire to tap into underused SAN capacity appear to be leading this trend toward gateways. File virtualization also garnered increased interest after its steady climb was waylaid by a substantial drop last fall.

Storage virtualization has yet to find firm footing, with 65% expressing no plans at all to implement this technology. Users continue to be cautious about virtualization because of the significant impact its implementation would have on a storage environment. "It's high on my list of things to look at," says Fitch Ratings' Maceroli, "[but] it's not high on our purchase agenda for this year." Maceroli says that if his firm's evaluation of virtualization pans out, they would consider adding it to their 2007 budget.

This was first published in June 2006

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