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Software purchases bolster staff
About This Survey

The 2003 Purchasing Intentions survey is an ongoing effort by Storage magazine. The results presented here were gathered during June and July 2002 from recipients of the magazine. The survey looks at disk, switch, backup and disaster recovery, and storage management software purchase intentions. Data for each section were restricted to respondents actually involved in the purchase of those items. The full survey is much more extensive than the results presented here and will be presented at the TechTarget's Storage Management Conference in Chicago, Sept. 17-19, 2002 (for more info, see

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http://www.storagedecisions.com/). Note: Questions whose answers should add up to 100% may not, due to rounding errors.
As for disaster recovery (DR), 61% plan to spend more in 2003. Off-site tape storage spending appears to be the most common solution (47%), followed by increased spending on remote copy or replication approaches (33%). As with backup, service providers aren't that high on the radar screen - only 10% look to electronic vaulting as their primary DR strategy in 2003. As for spending levels, 42% had no spending plans for electronic vaulting, 25% will not increase spending and only 32% had plans to increase.

Software supplements staff
Along with increasing expenditures on hardware and networking, users are turning to storage management software to cope with growth. Most are increasing (43%) or maintaining (36%) their level of spending on storage management software. Their motivation is most commonly to manage more storage with the same staff (39%) or to simplify management of different storage environments (28%).

J. Russell Hudson, a storage manager with SouthTrust Bank, Birmingham, AL, is among those whose company is using storage management tools to leverage its current employees' strengths. "The storage management definitely makes things easier for us. My job is less stressful and more pleasant even though we're not adding any bodies," he says.

While a small percentage of users are mainly motivated by a desire to audit and report on their environments (9%), few are buying software primarily for chargeback (5%) or mainly to optimize storage efficiency and decrease storage growth (1%).

The drive to simplify complex environments is further reflected by the type of storage management software users say they intend to buy. For 44% of respondents, their main purchase will be packages to manage multiple products from multiple vendors, far more than the 18% who are focused on element managers. Almost as many respondents (38%) were primarily interested in packages to integrate into higher level management environments, a clear signal that users want more capable management environments.

That's also signaled by the 51% who said they would select software based on the most comprehensive set of features, far ahead of best of breed products (34%) or price (36%). That's also in contrast to those who will buy management software mainly from their hardware vendors (35%) or storage software vendors (34%).

If 2003 is going to be the year of virtualization, it will catch storage managers by surprise. Only 23% say they will implement a virtualization solution next year, with interest divided fairly evenly among the various approaches. With IT shops solidly behind SAN creation and expansion, and with staffs apparently not growing, storage managers will likely find themselves highly dependent on management software improvements to carry it all off.

This was first published in August 2002

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