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Storage redux: Purchase plans reviving

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Even among those respondents who have already bought or plan to buy a tape library in 2009, most are opting for smaller libraries. The average number of slots in the tape libraries they plan to purchase was 109, which is slightly higher than the 101 reported last spring, but still the second lowest number we've seen. But declining slot numbers have a positive side as they point to greater tape library efficiencies, most notably from the use of newer drives. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated their new libraries would have LTO-4 drives that deliver higher capacity and speed, as well as encryption. Interest in encryption is also starting to translate into actions, with 51% of those surveyed saying they're encrypting at least some backup data, a 7 point gain over last fall. And, once again, encryption ranked second among the newer technologies that respondents plan to implement or evaluate this year (see "Top 10 techs in 2009 implementation/evaluation plans," below).

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Click here to view "Top 10 techs in 2009 implementation/evaluation plans," as well as a PDF of other purchasing charts.

Of course, disk is de rigueur for backup operations these days, and storage managers will continue to invest in disk-to-disk (D2D) technologies that can improve efficiency. Overall D2D spending appears to be bouncing back from last spring; only 10% said they'll decrease D2D spending (vs. 13% last spring), while 44% plan to increase spending (vs. 34% in the spring). These are positive signs not only for backup vendors, but for beleaguered backup administrators.

Most shops (43%) have integrated disk into their backup systems as a file system-based target or cache; virtual tape libraries (VTLs) are the second most popular approach (26%). In our most recent survey, 35% of respondents said they'll add file system targets to their backup environments, while 24% will opt for VTLs. That figure represents a modest resurgence for that technology.

But the big story is still deduplication. Twenty-one percent of respondents are using dedupe (the highest number we've recorded), and 26% have added it or plan to this year. That, too, is new high for our survey. As far as budgetary considerations go, dedupe is a priority, with 38% planning to increase their dedupe spending (up 8 points from last spring) and only 6% anticipating reduced spending.

Continuous data protection (CDP), another space and time saver, is used by 12% of respondents, just 1 point shy of the highest mark recorded for CDP last spring. Sixteen percent plan to implement CDP this year, also just 1 point lower from the previous high.

This was first published in October 2009

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