With the US economy seemingly moving out of recession, storage vendors are certainly wondering when things will pick up. Storage managers wonder, too, what their peers at competitive companies are up to.
Some intriguing evidence of what to look for appears in a CIO Magazine survey conducted earlier this year. Based on responses from 100 executives, mostly CIOs, CTOs and vice presidents, the survey showed an average growth in storage demand of 36 percent last year. The same respondents anticipated storage growth of another 39 percent during 2002 with spending for storage on the rise, too (about two-thirds expect the demand figure to rise further and those expecting a rise foresee an average increase of 27 percent). For this year, on average, respondents expected 22 percent of their budgets to be allocated to storage.
Arun Taneja, an analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, says CIO's survey numbers seem reasonable -- and reveal good news for vendors. "The fact that the storage growth is only 39% is a result of many shops holding back buying new storage due to strict budgets and approvals required," he said. "That's why we have seen an increased interest in storage management tools," he added. Taneja points out that most installations are still DAS-based [more than half in the CIO survey], an approach that does not lend itself to very high storage utilization. "This is good for the storage industry in that blood can't be squeezed out of a stone and we should start to see renewed growth," he said.
Elsewhere in the survey, some respondents attributed their chronic excess storage capacity not so much to inefficiency in allocation (as is often suggested) but to the desire to be responsive to end users' sudden need for more storage. However, Taneja said he thinks the main driver is the desire to maintain or enhance application performance. And, he adds, "without appropriate tools like virtualization and policy based provisioning, they will continue to over allocate."
The demand drivers for storage growth identified by survey respondents were, in order of size, business continuity, ERP, CRM and the Internet. One other finding of note: a growing number of respondents say they will be adopting or considering SAN or NAS options.
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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, MA.