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With users building layers of primary storage, data protection and networking, how will they manage all of this? That remains the outstanding issue, and this survey only shines a spotlight on the problem. Only 35% of respondents plan to increase their spending on storage management software.
The lack of enthusiasm has multiple explanations. Overall, users feel they have the tools they need, or can make do with the "free" software bundled with their storage arrays and switches. High prices and lack of budget (possibly reflecting lack of compelling justification) also play into tepid spending plans for management software.
Another potential explanation is that vendors are out of synch with what users want. For example, performance management and operational monitoring and management score highly as functions that respondents want, yet neither category has seen much action in recent years (see Question 11). The buzz has gone more toward ILM and automation, areas that may be overshooting where many storage managers are in their deployment of a management infrastructure.
If this survey suggests a definite climate of investment, it also suggests that the wild spending of the late '90s won't return anytime soon. Terabytes may be growing like mildew in a damp basement, but they're not all going to be connected to high-end systems, or even on high-end networks. Early signs are that 2005 will see many shops spending a moderate amount more, and tiering will help to make that moderation less onerous. Still, storage managers will have to plan wisely to be able to do more than just keep up with data growth.
This was first published in November 2004