Storage spending continues to rise


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Is this the year of IP storage?

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Last summer's survey showed strong initial interest in IP storage, particularly iSCSI. More than 20% indicated that one or another IP protocol would be their main storage protocol in 2003, with iSCSI hitting 14%.

That may have been an expression of interest more than a statement of intent. This year, IP protocols got the nod as primary protocol from 11%, with iSCSI at 8%. Real interest in IP storage is driving purchases of Fibre Channel to IP bridges by 30% of users, and iSCSI to SCSI bridges by 18% of respondents. In fact, 3% of respondents intend to purchase more than five iSCSI bridges.

Nonetheless, 25% of respondents said they would deploy IP storage switches in 2003. A realistic 3% of respondents said they had already implemented iSCSI, with another 3% saying they definitely will implement it. But 6% were in the process of evaluating it, while 28% said they would evaluate iSCSI.

Yet iSCSI is not everyone's cup of tea: 10% are definitely not implementing it and 49% had no plans to implement it.

All in all, it would appear that 2003 is the year that iSCSI gets on the radar screen, but maybe not on the shop floor just yet.

Caution on management software
With capacity spending not as prevalent as in the past, storage managers might be expected to be putting more emphasis on managing their environments through software. But the picture is muddier.

Nearly half of respondents (49%) are increasing spending on storage management software. But 21% are spending nothing, and 26% are holding the line. For those buying, there's no doubt as to why: 42% listed the need to manage more storage with the same staff, with 10% more trying to manage existing storage with the same staff.

Perhaps the most interesting data from the survey on software was an apparent shift backward to more basic software. In August, the emphasis was on packages to manage multiple elements, with some interest in integrating into higher level suites, such as Hewlett-Packard OpenView or Computer Associates Unicenter. There was little interest (18%) in element managers. But this time around, interest in element managers and integration into higher-level suites switched rank, with multielement managers still holding the high ground. Now that they're deeper into it, are storage managers realizing the need to put in software controls at the most basic levels before moving on to more ambitious plans?

We'll repeat the survey this summer during the early phases of your 2004 corporate budget planning. Perhaps that survey will tell us how storage managers' plans to grow in 2003 survive a poor business climate, and whether the tendency to get the house in order before massive expansion can hold out against the realities of explosive data growth.

This was first published in May 2003

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