Tiered storage top project for '06

Users at Storage Decisions voted tiered storage their top priority for 2006, but many said that developing a cost model was difficult.

Creating a tiered storage infrastructure was voted the No. 1 project for 2006 by users at the Storage Decisions show in Las Vegas, but many had concerns about how to implement it.

According to an audience response survey taken by approximately a hundred of the 350 attendees, reclassifying data and working out the return on investment were the hardest aspects of a tiered storage project.

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"I can't get a real cost model on it, and until I do my CFO [chief financial officer] isn't interested," said a lead storage architect at a West Coast university. This sentiment was echoed by over half the respondents to the survey. The next biggest stumbling block, according to 42% of the respondents, was the issue of placing data into a tiered storage environment with no real way of automating the movement of data.

Close to 40% of the users surveyed said that they were committed to developing a tiered storage plan now; 30% said they were already in production with a tiered architecture; and the remaining 30% said they were considering it but were not quite convinced.

Over 60% of respondents said that they had implemented two or three tiers of storage; 21.4% had built four tiers; 7.1% had built five; 3.6% had build six or more tiers and an equal number had just one tier.

Managing the explosive growth of unstructured files was the biggest motivator for moving to tiered storage; e-mail came next, followed by databases.

Data archiving

At least half the respondents are working on an archiving strategy alongside their tiered storage project. But 44% of those surveyed said they weren't sure what data should be archived or for how long, while 33% said that they know what needs to be saved but haven't figured out the best way to do it.

Almost half the respondents said they are in the middle of creating a new policy for archiving; while 36% said that they didn't know if their company had a formal archiving policy. Roughly 30% said that they were budgeting for compliance, which would include an archiving component.

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