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Storage spending report

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Strategic vendor choices shifting
Storage managers responding to our survey have been relatively stable in their choice of strategic vendors for backup hardware, as well as backup and storage management software, since 2002. But in disk and switch hardware, users have had shifting allegiances in who they list as their primary vendors. We've generally interpreted that designation as a measure of mindshare and strategic importance, not market share.

In switches, Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s failure in 2003 to present a convincing roadmap and stream of new products opened the door wide, and Cisco Systems Inc. has clearly stepped into it. Cisco's mindshare is way out of proportion to its market share, although reports from analyst

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firms such as IDC have generally shown that to be growing, too. McData Corp., meanwhile, continues to enjoy the growing popularity of directors.

In disk storage, the story is a bit different. After its troubles in 2002 and 2003, EMC Corp. has clearly emerged as the leader. Hewlett-Packard Co. fell and Hitachi Data Systems Inc. gained ground (probably from its TagmaStore introduction); IBM Corp., however, didn't receive a boost from its recent introductions of new arrays. Also interestingly, the Dell/EMC connection seems to have lost its upward pull on Dell's mindshare. Network Appliance Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have seen stability and a slight upward growth. The bottom line: EMC has returned to a dominant position in disk, while Brocade has lost its hold on a switch market that's clearly changing.

 

This is shaping up to be an evolutionary year for storage shops, with the recent trend toward tiered storage and disk-based backup continuing full steam ahead. Spending increases for storage have returned to more moderate levels compared to previous years, and influences such as regulatory compliance and information lifecycle management are still far from mandates. Instead, storage managers are focusing on building out their fabrics, rather than on large-scale expansions or aggregations of their storage networks.

That's what 571 storage managers indicated in their responses to Storage's March 2005 Purchasing Intentions Survey (see About this survey). Average budget growth was 2.3%, down from surveys conducted in March 2004 (4%) and August 2004 (2.6%). Upon closer inspection, the downward shift is largely due to the shrinking number of respondents who are increasing their spending in the 5% to 10% range; the relative numbers of people who are either spending much more or decreasing spending have otherwise not changed much (see Spending still on the rise).

More qualitatively, budget cutters disproportionately tended to be midsized companies from a cross-section of industries. They had small storage budgets to start, and are cutting back on disk and switch purchases. Storage managers in larger firms continue to defy predictions that disk growth will slow down, spending 41% of their budgets on disk hardware to buy an average of 23TB this year.

Prior Purchasing Intentions Surveys have often revealed dramatic shifts in the way storage managers are building and deploying storage networks. This survey confirms those recent trends, such as a shift toward disk-based backup and midrange primary storage. But it shows a definite tilt toward building out existing storage networks in certain ways, and much less new fabric construction than in the past.

This was first published in June 2005

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