Storage growth drives buying plans


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Storage management software languishes
Costly storage management software remains a relatively low priority, as managers are content to stick with point products or the apps bundled with hardware. Approximately one-third of those surveyed report that they have a management product, while approximately 30% say that limited budgets and high prices would deter any purchase considerations this year.

Among those who have purchased storage management software, one-third consider EMC their primary vendor and 18% name HP, a figure that has trailed off a bit since last fall's 21% share.

Many newer technologies are on storage managers' radar screens, along with several more established technologies receiving renewed interest. The top technologies of interest are directly related to the themes of coping with data growth and protecting stored data.

Seventy-two percent of respondents say they plan to either implement or evaluate wide-area replication, again bolstering the growing concern with disaster planning. Hand in hand with replication, continuous data protection was rated at nearly the same level of interest, and data encryption--the headline grabbing storage topic for much of the last year--is up for implementation or evaluation by 62% of managers. Interest in several other technologies--most notably, SAN/NAS gateways, service-level agreements (SLAs), global file systems and SAN routing--address the issue of dealing with ever-growing

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data stores. It's particularly interesting that SLAs were rated so high (56% will implement or evaluate), suggesting that making business units pay for storage may help to control growth.

Functionality wins out
Throughout the most recent and previous surveys, storage managers say the main criteria for choosing a particular product or considering a vendor as a prime supplier are product features and functionality. Despite tight budgets and the crisis of the moment, managers expect their products to deliver as advertised and are willing to shell out a few extra bucks to ensure that. In fact, a product's price was consistently one of the lowest rated criteria. Current hardware and software suppliers are also favored, underscoring the importance of building solid partnerships for both storage users and vendors. "We try to limit ourselves to market-leading technologies," says Fitch Ratings' Maceroli.

About the Survey: This is the fourth year Storage has published its twice-yearly Purchasing Intentions Survey. This survey was conducted in March 2006 by e-mail. The results are based on answers from 680 respondents, all of whom had specific purchasing authority for the product categories they were queried on.

This was first published in June 2006

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