The time is right for efficient storage


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Storage budgets are lower this year, forcing storage managers to think creatively and act strategically.

What do archiving, thin provisioning, data deduplication and network-attached storage (NAS) gateways have in common? They help you shoehorn a lot of data into a little space without breaking the bank. And in 2009, that bank appears to be a little less flush than in recent years, so more creative approaches to storage management will be essential.

It's been said that there's always a budget crisis in IT, but 2009 might prove to be a particularly memorable year. For the first time in the seven years we've been conducting our Storage Purchasing Intentions survey, respondents indicate they'll have less money to spend on storage than they did last year. On average, budgets will dip nearly 2%, more than a five point swing -- the biggest change we've ever seen -- from the modest but positive increases we saw last spring and fall (see

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"Storage budgets dip in 2009"). Over the years, we've seen lower budget indications in our spring surveys, with budgets bouncing back a bit when we field the fall version of the survey.

About the survey

The Storage magazine/SearchStorage.com Purchasing Intentions survey is fielded twice a year; this is the seventh year the surveys have been conducted. Storage magazine subscribers are invited to participate in the survey, which gathers information related to storage managers' purchasing plans for a variety of storage product categories. This edition had 777 qualified respondents across a broad spectrum of industries, with the average company size measured as having revenue of $1.6 billion.

While 29% of the respondents surveyed say their company's storage budget will actually rise this year, the number falls far short of last spring's 46%. At the other end of the budget spectrum, 37% say their storage budgets will be lower than last year's, a big jump from the 16% and 17% reported on the 2008 surveys. And you're bound to feel the pinch, whether your shop serves a small, midsized or enterprise-scale company.

Hilary Tullier, business systems manager at Houston-based ACT Pipe and Supply Inc., hopes to see an increase in his storage budget this year. "Last year it was pretty much static," he said. "It was just break and repair." He's evaluating arrays to replace more than 10 TB of direct-attached storage (DAS) and is favoring iSCSI over Fibre Channel (FC) because "it doesn't really break the budget."

Similarly, Jason Jed, network manager in the Office of the President at the University of California (UC) in Oakland, expects to push ahead with a project to add approximately 12 TB of storage and move his systems to a local collocation facility while mirroring to another UC site in San Diego. "For this year, the budget is still OK," he said, "but they don't want to commit to next year or the year after that."

This was first published in May 2009

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