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Storage Networking market analysis. (Stub Files).

A recent survey conducted by Periphera1 Concepts of 423 IT managers at sites with more than 1TB of disk capacity reveals a number of interesting conclusions regarding end users' storage priorities and the rate of adoption of storage area networks (SANs) and network-attached storage (NAS). The survey included extensive interviews with each of the IT managers.

The economic slump has not diminished end users' appetite for storage capacity. Companies have restrained expenses, purchased equipment previously owned by failed companies, and are improving storage utilization through resource consolidation. But those cost-containment measures have not curtailed the trend toward storage networking, including SAN and NAS (see Figures 1 and 2).

Surprisingly, the survey reveals that about one-third of the IT managers do not know if they have a SAN or NAS. Of the remaining two-thirds interviewed, 63% have at least one SAN, and an additional 11% plan to install one in the next 18 months. About 38% of the sites have installed NAS, and an additional 22% plan to install NAS in the next 18 months. At the end of the 18-month period, about half of the surveyed population will have both SAN and NAS installed at their sites.

The survey shows that disk capacity continued to grow in 2001, but at a slower pace--30% per year, as opposed to an average of 60% per year over the preceding five years. There is a distinct trend toward external storage, and SAN and NAS experience growth rates significantly higher than the average.

In similar interviews conducted since 1995, IT managers' key storage requirements--availability, manageability, scalability, performance, and cost--have remained the same, but prioritization has shifted over the years. For example, a few years ago availability topped the list. Scalability became a priority when service providers emer-ged, and cost climbed to the top during the worst of the economic slowdown. This year, however, performance is number one on the list of users with more than 1TB of disk capacity (see Figure 3).

There are three significant additions to end users' most wanted list: adaptability (the ability to connect to other hardware or software modules, and to changing applications), interoperability, and security.

In terms of applications, backup remains a major concern, and data replication (both local and remote) has become a key application for both security reasons and for fast access to data. Other applications and services that emerged as high priorities this year included heterogeneous data sharing, storage provisioning, and quality of service.

A relatively low number of users are aware of, or interested in, technologies that are touted by vendors, industry analysts, and the trade press, including: storage virtualization and aggregation, intelligent "universal" (multi-protocol) switches, Infini-Band, data accelerators; and content distribution networking.

However, end users are interested in other much-touted technologies, such as: centralized management and storage area management, storage resource management (SRM) software, automated policy-driven provisioning and appliances, and low-cost, entry-level storage network configurations.

At a time when budgets are tight and businesses are striving to improve their bottom line, storage software vendors also face changes to their standard licensing models. Learn how Microsoft is influencing changes in the way that licensing is structured and how this has lead to significant controversy among end users. A cross section of 100 end users were interviewed from the telecommunications, financial, government, energy, and health-care sectors to determine the specific needs of customers purchasing storage soft ware. Our findings show that software enterprise licensing, subscription licensing, service, pricing and discounts, as well as understanding the overall purchasing process, were top priorities for customers. For details on this survey, go to

SAN Installations

Figure 1

Total population of 323 user, 115 answered "Don't know" 123 out of the
remaining 208 will have both SAN and NAS

Installed 63%
No Plans 28%
Planned with in 18 11%

Paripharal Concepts Survey March 2000

Note: Table made from pie chart

NAS Installations

Figure 2

Total population of 208 323 users were interviewed, 115 answered "Don't

Planned within 18 months 22%
Installed 38%
No Plans 40%

Peripharal Concepts Survey March 2000

Note: Table made from pie chart

Farid Neema is president of Peripheral Concepts (Santa Barbara, Calif).
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Article Details
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Author:Neema, Farid
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
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