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Storage redux: Purchase plans reviving

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"It ain't over till it's over," said Yogi Berra. While the persistent economic doldrums aren't over yet, storage managers may finally be seeing a brighter future.

Storage managers may finally be seeing a light at the end of the economic tunnel or, as the old joke goes, maybe it's an oncoming train. But after a train wreck of an economy, it looks like storage budgets may be creeping back to something resembling normalcy. Of course, "normalcy" is a relative term, as those budgets are still hovering in negative territory.

Last spring when the full impact of the recession was starting to sink in, storage managers were feeling the same sting that hobbled virtually every business. In that earlier edition of our Storage Purchasing Intentions survey, data storage managers reported that their 2009 storage budgets were likely to be 1.9% less than 2008's. While that might not seem like a huge dip, it did represent a nearly five point drop from what they reported in the fall of 2008. And it was the first time in seven years that we saw a negative number when we asked storage managers to compare their budgets year over year. In our most recent survey, conducted in early September, the picture is a little brighter. Compared with 2008, storage budgets are a mere 0.4% lower -- not back into positive numbers, but certainly more encouraging than six months ago. Overall, 30% of those surveyed reported decreased budgets, 28% said their budgets would remain flat and

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almost 33% said their budgets increased.

The spring-to-fall shift in budget levels and planned spending is a common occurrence. Managers appear to be more cautious in the spring when estimating what they'll have to spend for the year; by autumn, many of them see their budgets rise a bit. New projects, unexpected expenses and newfound funds all seem to contribute to this annual swing. In sheer dollars, the average storage budget reported was $2.9 million, which is the same figure as last spring. However, some very large budgets tend to skew the average upward, as 57% of respondents reported budgets less than $1 million.

About the survey

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Purchasing Intentions survey is fielded twice a year; this is the seventh year the survey has been conducted. Storage magazine subscribers are invited to participate in the survey, which gathers information related to storage managers' purchasing plans for a variety of storage product categories. This edition had 826 qualified respondents across a broad spectrum of industries, with the average company size measured as having revenue of $1.5 billion.

This was first published in October 2009

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