Data burden

A survey by Hitachi Data Systems shows that although budgets are increasing, the focus is on management and not capacity.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  September 6, 2005

The amount of digital information that businesses have to manage is set to grow by up to 30% over the next two years states the latest edition of the Hitachi Data Systems Storage Index, a bi-annual survey of more than 840 CIOs from 21 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Looking at attitudes towards data storage, specifically in relation to reasons for implementation and individual storage technologies such as NAS and virtualisation, the latest Storage Index reveals an uncertainty in exact IT spend on storage, set against a minimal increase in IT budgets and an ever-mounting data burden. 78% of respondents agreed that data would increase over the next two years by a maximum of 30%, with 76% of that sample citing e-mail as the biggest contributor. Set against this trend is a maximum 10% increase in IT budgets over the next two years and, more interestingly, an increase in the lack of awareness from CIOs regarding storage spend as a percentage of total IT budget. This suggests that storage spend is not being diligently tracked or that there is a blurring of the boundaries between traditional storage spend on capacity and the emerging technologies that focus on better storage management which may be harder to categorise; a view shared by Michael Väth, senior vice president and general manager of Hitachi Data Systems, EMEA. “The research validates what Hitachi Data Systems has been hearing from its customers and prospects for a long time; that the data burden is increasing yet budgets are virtually static.” Purchasing decisions are being made on how storage can contribute to the overall business rather than simply how much capacity is needed and, according to Väth, the market needs to react to this by focusing on business solutions rather than simply shifting boxes. Reinforcing this view, the Storage Index also reveals that storage management continues to dominate future storage investments, with 49% of respondents looking to implement these technologies within the next two years. However, the biggest aggregate increase in planned implementations was for virtualisation which has seen an 86% increase since the first Storage Index in Q203. “Businesses across the globe have to manage terabytes and petabytes of data against a backdrop of increased regulation, worries over business continuity and the ever increasing pressures of daily commerce,” says Väth. “It comes as no surprise that virtualisation has seen such a massive increase in popularity. It’s the next stage on from storage management, aligning storage technologies with business goals.” When pressed on what they see as their main storage issues, the perennial problems of security, downtime, and budgets, scoring 31%, 28% and 14% respectively, are the primary concerns of CIOs. Overall, 93% of the sample admitted to being worried about at least one aspect of their storage implementation. The storage spend has to be seen in the context of improving business performance, from reducing total cost of ownership, improving quality of service, and streamlining IT management costs and processes, to implementing robust business continuity strategies or improving services through better IT performance, according to Väth. “The market is clearly looking for solutions that address more than simply capacity management. The challenge is on the vendors to tailor their solutions to solve these key business issues,” he says.

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