Storage managers can reach for their wallets again


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Seeking storage efficiency

Of course, storage virtualization isn't the only route to more efficient use of installed and new storage capacity. Getting a bigger bang for the buck, especially for sub-tier-1 storage, is another tack especially when storage density is a greater requisite than performance. iSCSI systems neatly fill that bill and often still boast enough performance to host a company's key applications.

Forty percent of respondents currently use iSCSI storage, and 41% (there is some overlap) already have or plan to deploy iSCSI storage in their shops. Price is obviously one of the most attractive features of iSCSI storage, but for 47% of the companies represented in the survey, these systems can still burn enough rubber to serve up data for their mission-critical applications.

Cheaper storage is all well and good, but it still has to be used efficiently to minimize capacity waste. In the past year, primary storage data reduction has become, arguably, the hottest topic in storage. Users have been impressed with the results they've seen with data deduplication in their backup operations and its relatively easy implementation, and they're eager to see similar results for their online or nearline storage.

Given that primary storage data reduction is still a relatively new concept and the field of players offering products is still rather small, a surprising 30% of respondents have either implemented it or plan to this year. Add

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to that the 33% who are currently evaluating primary storage data reduction technologies and products, and it's clear that more storage vendors will take note and roll out new products over the coming months. An interesting parallel can be drawn to thin provisioning, which was met with some resistance by storage system vendors who feared they might cannibalize their own disk sales. Ultimately, user demand won out and thin provisioning is now a checklist item on most system vendors' spec sheets.

Saving on operational costs is also an imperative in these days of pared-down budgets. Power conservation in storage systems has, traditionally, been met with mostly yawns from storage managers, who rated it little better than "nice to have" rather than "need it." Saving a few bucks on electricity is still hardly a top priority, but 5% note that conservation is their most important criteria when considering an array purchase decision -- a modest number but the highest we've seen to date.

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This was first published in May 2010

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