The big crunch: Capacity grows, budgets shrink


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More disk, more backup pain
Regardless of how companies deal with their increasing capacity needs, they all have one thing in common: they'll have to expand or alter their backup systems to protect additional data. For the most part, companies are looking to disk systems to ease that backup pain.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents plan to increase their spending for tape backup systems, the lowest figure in the six years we've conducted the survey. Twenty-eight percent will decrease spending on tape vs. last year, which is also a record for our surveys (see "Tape buying dips," below). We've also seen a steady decline in the average number of slots users expect to implement in the tape libraries they'll buy, although that figure (130 slots) is essentially the same as last spring's.

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tape buying trends (PDF).

But don't assume tape is out of the picture. "Later this year, I'm going to implement a petabyte storage system for the South campus," says Keller at the University of Oklahoma. "That'll be primarily tape, but with some disk up front." Keller's system will likely include up to 10 LTO-4 drives. LTO-4 offers high capacity and built-in encryption, but its adoption has been less than rapid. Still, 23% of respondents are planning LTO-4 implementations this year vs. last fall's 13%, making it clear that the technology's adoption is picking up steam.

Some storage managers are looking at other ways to grapple with backup issues. Deduplication figures prominently in plans, whether it's actual implementations or just some serious evaluation. Keller says the university hasn't implemented any kind of deduplication yet, but notes "it's sorely needed here."

"I think we need to do a better job with data deduplication and moving some of our file shares over to lower cost storage," says Med James' Sitz, anticipating a future crunch. But for now his situation is well under control. "I've looked at a few of the deduplication apps, but I think they're probably beyond what we need," he adds.

This was first published in June 2008

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