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Storage redux: Purchase plans reviving

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The biggest problems users have run into when backing up virtual servers is backing up too much data, cited by 27% of respondents, and possibly linked to their use of traditional backup methods. Twenty-three percent said the VM backup is just too complicated, while 17% indicated that access to individual files (a frequent issue with VM backups) was their biggest source of frustration.

Although outstripped by server virtualization in terms of implementations, storage virtualization is inexorably gaining favor in storage shops. Among the reasons for the relatively slow uptake for storage virtualization is that it's considerably harder (and more expensive) to do than server virtualization and brings with it the ominous "vendor lock-in" that looms with most virtualization choices.

Still, 31% report virtualizing at least some of their storage, which is up from 26% last fall -- a fairly significant jump of 5 percentage points in a short time. Block storage is still the initial candidate of choice for virtualization, with 18% of those surveyed having virtualized all of their block storage and 61% indicating they've virtualized some of their block storage. Approximately 7% of respondents have virtualized all of their file storage, while 44% have virtualized some file storage. These are perhaps still modest numbers considering how long virtualization products have been available, but the numbers cited here all represent increases vs. last spring.

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backup operations

Space-saving storage technologies, most notably data deduplication and compression, are still key parts of storage managers' efficiency arsenals for coping with increasing capacities and declining budgets.

Each year we see that tape figures less and less prominently in most companies' storage operations, but that trend also illustrates the efforts of storage managers to squeeze their data down to more manageable sizes. Last spring, we saw the lowest number ever (19%) for respondents who said they planned to increase their use of tape and, conversely, the highest percentage yet (29%) for those who plan to decrease their reliance on tape. Those numbers moderated a bit in the current survey, but the trend is clear, although 80% say all or some of their backup data will eventually find its way to tape (down from 86% two years ago).

This was first published in October 2009

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