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IT managers walking a tightrope between resources and data growth

Expert column: Steve Bailey, Regional Operations Director, CommVault Systems

High wire acts can be nerve wracking. Being able to balance so well and get from one side to the other, while performing somersaults and other daring acrobatics, is a tremendous feat and the victory applause at the end, so well deserved. Perhaps that’s why I think of IT storage pros a little bit as tightrope walkers, balancing the need to drive projects to fruition with the budget, operational and IT demands they face day to day.

This year 2012, its no less a tightrope walk for them. Where are you spending your storage dollars next year? That’s one of the many questions we asked nearly 300 individuals responsible for IT budget allocations encompassing storage and data management in our annual IT Storage Spending Predictions Survey. The results are in and, not surprisingly, managing data growth remains the top budget priority in 2012.

According to the survey results, IT organisations are prioritising managing data growth (i.e. data reduction) first, followed by network and equipment, disaster recovery, applications/software, data backup and recovery and backup of virtual server environments.

The survey polled a cross-section of companies, representing a wide variety of industry sectors, including government, education, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, engineering and retail. While they may be in different industries, they share many of the same concerns.

The good news is respondents predicted a slight increase in overall IT budgets. Thirty-two percent of the survey respondents revealed their IT budgets would increase in 2012, while 50 percent stated their budgets would remain unchanged in the coming year. The bad news is most organisations will have to manage more data without adding IT staffers. Of those surveyed, 54 percent reported no expected increases in IT headcount in 2012; 16 percent expected an increase and 29 percent remained undecided on increasing their staffing in 2012.

The survey also revealed some interesting stats on expected capacity growth, virtual server adoption and how much of overall IT budgets will be earmarked for data protection needs. You can find additional results of our survey in our latest infographic on the subject.

There is not much IT pros can do to stop data growth. Virtual servers, mobile devices and the use of social media are going to continue to drive the creation of new, massive amounts of data – in fact, it’s all a bit of a circus! The question is not how you stop data growth; it’s how do you manage and protect it all with limited personnel resources all while sticking to your IT budget? It requires a new strategy for information management, one that provides a seamless process from backup and recovery to archiving for data retention –  One platform to intelligently manage and protect enormous amounts of data and information across heterogeneous applications, hypervisors, operating systems and infrastructure from a single console.

Customers need to alleviate data growth concerns without dramatically increasing their budgets. It’s an old cliché to say, “Do more with less,” but clichés are rooted in truth. Customers need to navigate the tightrope by looking at cost-effective, modern solutions that solve real-world IT challenges.

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