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Storage managers poised to tap new technologies

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As budgetary constraints ease, storage shops are looking to emerging techs and cloud services to help deal with virtualized environments, data growth and performance demands.

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Budget cycles for the last couple of years have been slightly less brutal for data storage managers as business slowly nurses an ailing economy back to health. In the latest edition of the Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Storage Purchasing Intentions survey, the data provided by the 699 survey respondents paints a picture of cautious optimism: Things are getting better, but maybe not all that quickly.

Respondents represent all industry sectors, led by computer-related businesses (13.9%), financial services (11.5%), health care/pharmaceutical (10.3%), manufacturing (8.5%) and education (7.7%). The average number of employees at the participating organizations was 19,744, but the dividing line is 1,000 employees -- half the respondents were above that mark and half were below.

The average company revenue came in at $1.4 billion, which is consistent with the results from our last four surveys over a two-year period.

Budget belt loosens just a bit

In our spring 2011 survey, respondents indicated their storage budgets would rise 1.8% higher than their 2010 budgets, which was a fairly healthy jump over the measly 0.6% reported previously. We frequently see budgets adjusted upward from their spring marks, and while that trend continues with the current survey, it does so with a very modest uptick of just 0.1 points. Larger companies are showing a stronger recovery, with a 5.1% change over 2010’s budget. Midsized organizations saw a 2.1% rise, which is approximately half a point higher than a year ago; smaller companies are still struggling with basically flat budgets that grew by only 0.4%.

STORAGE BUDGET CHANGE

Enlarge STORAGE BUDGET CHANGE diagram.

Running the numbers:

  • Average storage budget: $3 million
  • Small and large companies’ storage budgets dip to $900,000 and $8.2 million, respectively; midsized firms are steady at $2.6 million
  • Highest-ever recorded average storage budget was $3.4 million in 2006

Key statistic: 

Biggest year-over-year budget gain: 5.2%, reported in the fall of 2006

Disk storage systems take biggest bite out of budget

Going back to our very first Storage Purchasing Intentions survey nine years ago, disks and disk subsystems have always accounted for the biggest chunk of storage budgets. This year follows form with 37% of budgets (the biggest slice by far) earmarked for storage systems. The percentage has hovered in the high 30s to low 40s despite dramatically declining disk prices largely because companies now need so much more disk (and other storage) to accommodate off-the-chart data growth. The average installed disk capacity is 269 TB, the highest number we’ve seen in the three years we’ve been asking this question. For 2011, storage managers expect to add an average of 42 TB of new disk capacity, ranging from 20 TB for small companies up to 86 TB for enterprises.

CURRENT INSTALLED CAPACITY AND CAPACITY TO BE ADDED

Enlarge CURRENT INSTALLED CAPACITY AND CAPACITY TO BE ADDED diagram.

Running the numbers:

  • NAS is the most installed storage system type, with 62% of respondents having those systems; Fibre Channel (FC) SANs are close behind at 57%, easily outdistancing block rival iSCSI (38%)
  • Midrange systems continue to be the most popular, with 44% of disk system budgets allocated to them
  • In 2006, 59% said FC arrays would be their main disk spend; on this survey 35% say they’ll add drives to existing systems rather than buy new FC systems (17%), a trend that emerged in 2007

Key statistic: 

33% will increase management software spending, mainly to manage more with the same staff

This was first published in October 2011

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