The storage industry will be bracing itself for more bad news on the back of a Merrill Lynch study, which suggests that 50% of 15 European and 50 US CIOs have shelved plans to implement SANs. Moreover, although half of the companies surveyed said they will be spending more on storage this year than they did last year, the rate of increased spending is less than had previously been expected. When times are hard and belts are tightened, the procurement pendulum swings back to server-attached storage.
"SANs [storage area networks] are of strategic interest, but it costs about $1 million to start up a SAN," the report states.
Merrill's study suggests that EMC is still gaining share, followed by IBM and Dell. Hard to believe perhaps, it says, though it notes that EMC is gaining in SANs and network-attached storage, but losing share in direct-attached storage. Moreover, EMC is committed to exerting pricing pressure to protect its share, which will be under further pressure, now that Sun is selling Hitachi Data Systems arrays.
Meantime, a Robert Frances Group report advises that this class of company, requiring mainframe data center/open systems solutions, should only be considering EMS, HDS and IBM as enterprise-class suppliers. Having kicked the tires, the group believes the performance claims made for EMC Symmetrix (Integrated Storage Architecture) and IBM Shark (Seascape 3) architectures are more or less acceptable.
However, "HDS and Hewlett-Packard have taken a rather aggressive editorial license in promoting their storage solutions as being up to eight times faster than those of EMC and IBM," according to the report. While HDS trumpets its 6.4GBps crossbar switch, "cache architecture stands out in the HDS system as the bottleneck for throughput."
In all three companies' products, all user data must pass through the global cache. Overall system performance depends more and more on the optimal utilization of global cache as capacities and input/output transaction rates increase. HDS claims that its system can do 165,000 I/Os per second. "Similar to the achievable bandwidth, however, the group believes that users will realize just slightly more than half of the original HDS claim, or 85,000-90,000 I/Os per second," the report states.
Merrill also notes that the overall IT budget growth is continuing to slow ? from January's expectations of 9% down to 2.6% for this year. It's predicting 4.6% growth for 2002, with network and storage spending showing the highest growth, while PC spending will be hit hardest. Its survey doesn't forecast a fourth-quarter spending rebound.
So when will spending improve? "CIOs' best guess is 2Q next year," it states.
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