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What's driving budgets?
With the economy still stuck in neutral at the bottom of the hill, many storage managers are wondering whether next year will be as frugal as the last year or more like the "buy what you need and then some" years of the late '90s.

Robert Gray, research director, storage, for IDC, says "People are going to be conservative about what they buy. Productivity projects are going to be at the forefront, including server consolidation and management software."

With so much uncertainty about the economy, "Most companies don't even have 2003 budgets yet," says Ferrol Macon, director of storage technologies for system integrator Solarcom, Norcross, GA. "Most companies are planning out only three - and at the most - six months in advance."

With that caveat in mind, Storage is conducting a comprehensive 2003 Purchasing Intentions Survey. This large-scale

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survey will be completed in the fall, but we felt that the initial response (gathered in June) was meaningful enough to publish and would be helpful as you go into your summer and fall budget cycles.

So, will storage managers be spending again next year? A qualified "yes" is the early answer from our survey of 210 storage managers, all Storage readers.

The respondents were either storage managers or IT managers who purchase storage products and services. Despite the down economy, few indicated that they will be cutting back (only 11%), with most increasing spending (53%) and more than a third holding the line at 2002 levels (36%).

While Wall Street analysts have fallen in love with storage software companies, storage managers are still devoting a lot of their budgets to hardware. Staff and networking gear each account for slightly more than software. Media is just slightly behind software.

Nor have downtimes brought a big rush to outsourcing, with less than 6% of budgets earmarked for services.

And respondents are buying a lot of disk storage, with 53% expecting to buy more than 10TB next year. And they're buying new technology, with 84% buying networked storage. In fact, half of the respondents were buying more than half of their storage as the network variety.

The network's the thing
Clearly, though, storage area network (SAN) storage is favored by our respondents. Forty-seven percent said their primary expenditure for new disk in 2003 would be SAN storage, as compared to 18% and 19% respectively for network-attached storage (NAS) and direct-attached storage (DAS). Backup still reigns as the number driver of networked storage (36%), with consolidation second at 29%.

This was first published in August 2002

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