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Storage managers poised to tap new technologies

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Virtual servers and virtual storage

With nearly 100% penetration, few data storage shops have avoided the effects of server virtualization. Most companies (45%) still favor Fibre Channel storage for their virtual servers partly because the systems were already installed but also because of fears of inadequate performance with other types of storage in demanding virtualized server environments. Desktop virtualization doesn’t have such wide implementation yet, but we found a surprising 47% of respondents have virtualized at least some of their desktops. Desktop virtualizers also prefer FC storage (45%) over iSCSI (27%) and NAS (25%). Storage virtualization, still lurking in the shadows of server virtualization, is growing at a more leisurely but steady pace. Thirty-two percent have virtualized at least some block or file storage; 23% are evaluating it. Among current storage virtualization users, 18% say all their file storage is virtualized and 14% say the same of their block storage. The preferred methods of storage virtualization are via a storage array (44%) or with an appliance (42%).

TYPE OF STORAGE BEING USED FOR VIRTUALIZED SERVERS

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Enlarge TYPE OF STORAGE BEING USED FOR VIRTUALIZED SERVERS diagram.

Running the numbers:

  • 63% use more storage now with virtual servers than before
  • 36% say server virtualization has made storage management tougher
  • 50% plan to buy new tools to better manage storage for virtual servers

Key statistic:

15% say they’ll buy an appliance to virtualize their storage in 2011

Data protection’s slow evolution

Take disk-based backup, deduplication, virtual servers and cloud backup, and you would probably figure data protection doesn’t look anything like it did a few years ago. Well . . . yes and no. Backup tends to change very slowly. For example, the “tape is dead” dirge is on continuous play, but new tape techs continue to emerge. Yes, we’re using it less -- 73% spin off some/all backups to tape vs. 85% three years ago -- and libraries are shrinking (an average 96 slots vs. 150 five years ago), but tape is still a key part of backup and archiving. And while dedupe seems like just another feature by now, not even one-third of our respondents are using it today. Virtual server backup is in the spotlight as backup app vendors tap into VMware’s APIs to make the process less painful, but 35% still just load a backup client into each VM. Cloud backup adoption is slow too, with 28% using some form of cloud backup, a number that has doubled vs. three years ago. But it’s been up and down the last two years, which might indicate more tinkering than commitment.

USE OF CLOUD BACKUP SERVICES

Enlarge USE OF CLOUD BACKUP SERVICES diagram.

Running the numbers:

  • Most popular target for disk-based backup is a NAS system (45%)
  • 29% use data deduplication in their backup process; 34% plan to add it this year
  • 47% will increase spending on cloud backup services vs. last year
  • “Not comfortable sending our company’s data into a public cloud” is the top (34%) reason for not using cloud backup
  • 18% say virtual server backup is too complicated; 18% say they back up too much

Key statistic:

46% of cloud backup users have more than 10 TB of backup data stored in the cloud; overall, users have an average of 16 TB of backup data in the cloud

This was first published in October 2011

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