Storage Outlook '08: Storage Managers'
Storage managers will ring in the new year with
a to-do list of storage projects that's topped off with the usual suspects—backup,
and disaster recovery—according to a survey of storage managers
Backup was cited as the prime storage priority
for 2008 by 12% of the respondents, and was among the top three priorities for
39% of the storage managers taking the survey. Job no. 1 for slightly more than
10% of respondents was
adding disk capacity, with a little more than
double that number putting it on their list of top three storage priorities.
Addressing disaster recovery—refining, testing, expanding or implementing DR
plans—ranked third as the top storage priority, with 8% considering DR a prime
But if the prospect of coping with those
all-too-familiar storage nemeses doesn't seem too appealing, at least most
managers will have a little extra dough to deal with these ongoing dilemmas.
Nearly 58% of respondents said they expected their storage spending to increase
by at least 5% this year. Overall, average increase in planned storage spending
was 6.2%--more than a percentage point higher than last year's results gathered
on our twice-annual Purchasing Intentions survey. Only 8.4% expected their
storage spending to dip below last year's levels.
Company size had some bearing on the rate at
which storage spending is expected to increase in 2008. Small (revenues less
than $100 million) and large (revenues over $1 billion) companies both reported
expected 5.8% hikes in their spending, while midsized ($100 million to $1
billion) companies expect to increase their spending by 6.7%.
Lots of disk coming in 2008
Those substantial spending increases appear to
be earmarked in large part for disk systems. Companies are still adding capacity
hand over fist, with much of the new disk destined to serving critical apps.
Some 64% of survey respondents indicated that their main focus for capacity
expansion would be at the primary storage level; nearline storage was a distant
second at 25%.
2008 looks to be shaping up as a "big iron"
year, with nearly two-thirds -- 65% -- of the respondents expecting to buy new
Fibre Channel arrays this year. Tied for second on respondents' shopping lists
are multi-protocol arrays and
NAS filers, both at about 34%. And for those
still waiting for the "year
of iSCSI" to happen, IP-based storage might be gaining some traction
in 2008, as 28% of the respondents say they'll purchase
But storage managers aren't just looking to add
high-end storage -- they're also planning to
add a lot of it. The average capacity that survey respondents indicated
they will add this year is a bit more than 44TB—a figure that gibes with the
upward trend we've seen in our purchasing surveys. Broken down by company size,
big businesses will add an average of 73TB, midsized companies plan on adding
37TB, and small firms are looking at an additional 25TB
Those numbers are sobering reminders of
spiraling capacity requirements, and users appear determined to explore new ways
to rein in growth this year. For example, while only 12% of the survey
respondents are currently using storage virtualization, 55% plan to either
deploy or evaluate file virtualization in 2008 and 48% plan to do the same with
block virtualization. Thin provisioning, a technology that can help control
capacity growth by only doling out disk when it's actually needed, is currently
being used by only 10% of respondents, but 41% say they'll either deploy or
evaluate it in the coming year.
With the pressing need for more capacity,
storage managers seem more concerned with getting by than going "green." Only
15% said power consumption and cooling requirements will be important enough
factors in their disk shopping that they may determine their final choices.
Building better backup
With backup such a high priority among survey
respondents, it's not surprising that many plan to retool or upgrade their
backup operations. If there was any question that disk has become de rigueur
in backup processes, these survey results should allay those doubts.
Nearly 46% of respondents plan to beef up their
disk backup environments by buying additional arrays dedicated to data
protection, and another 36% will add drives to existing backup disk systems. On
tape side of the backup equation, 47% indicated
that they'll make do with their current configurations this year. Those who plan
to add some tape capacity are split 50-50 between adding a
tape library (27%) and adding slots or drives to existing libraries
As with their efforts to cope with capacity
growth, storage managers seem ready to embrace—or at least consider—some newer
data protection technologies. Data deduplication, hot in 2007, looks poised to
sizzle in 2008. While fewer than 12% of respondents currently use data dedupe, a
whopping 69% plan to either implement or evaluate it this year.
With a similar installed base, continuous data
protection (CDP) technologies also look like they're going to take off in 2008,
with 57% of respondents planning deployments or evaluations. Archiving and
replication, more mature data protection apps, are each used by about
one-quarter of respondents; but 50-plus percent expressed interest in those two
technologies for 2008.
More than a third of respondents don't plan to
buy and addition backup/restore software this year. Among those who are doing
some software shopping, 31% say they'll add new functionality or options to
their existing backup apps. This suggests that software vendors' strategies of
adding new features to their backup suites may be paying off, with users more
likely to buy new capabilities—such as CDP or dedupe—from a familiar source.
With so much disk capacity being added this
year, about 21% of respondents say they will purchase additional licenses for
their current backup applications, which are often licensed based on capacity.
The enormous popularity of server virtualization is also fueling the need for
additional backup licenses.
A small yet very daring portion of
respondents—a little more than 13%--plan the daunting task of replacing their
current backup applications in 2008.
Storage net and management
Again, driven largely by capacity increases,
more than two-thirds of respondents plan to build out their storage fabrics. The
largest slice of network upgraders (31%) plan to add switches to their current
fabrics, with 19% saying they will add new fabrics either at their companies'
main location or at remote sites.
Although nearly half of the respondents say
they won't add to their storage management toolkits, with the rest of the group
were roughly evenly split among buying software that addresses specific needs
(e.g., operational reporting, provisioning, compliance management), tapping
their hardware vendors for additional management tools and adding third-party