A study released by research firm TheInfoPro showed that those in charge of IT dollars at corporations around the U.S. and Europe are focused on buying technology that can optimize systems they are already using.
For example, the study concluded that companies are spending significant dollars on thin provisioning, which allocates storage capacity on an as-needed basis for apps, and data de-duplication technology, which eliminates duplicate files or blocks of data either at the primary storage layer or during backups.
On the other hand, TheInfoPro's survey found that few companies are deploying new business applications, which would, in-turn, drive new data storage technology purchases.
“Major spending increases won't resume until new business application installs once again create massive demands on storage needs,” said Rob Stevenson, managing director of storage research at TheInfoPro. “In the interim, storage shops will focus on productivity improvement and hardware inventory adjustments to prepare for virtualization and cloud support needs.”
TheInfoPro's study, which is based on interviews with storage decision makers in North America and Europe, revealed that while 45% of Fortune 1000 respondents plan to increase storage spending in the coming months, 29% still expect major budget cuts. In contrast, 41% of midsized enterprises plan to increase storage spending this year, while 25% expect further budget reductions.
Among the top technologies in TheInfoPro's so-called “Heat Indexes”, which identify trends in early technology adoption for both Fortune 1000 and mid-sized enterprises, were: E-mail archiving, information lifecycle management and storage resource management systems, said Ken Male, TheInfoPro's executive vice chairman.
The average Fortune 1000 company has about 1.2 petabytes of disk-based data storage capacity today, so anything that will help manage the data tsunami or trim excess data is hot, Male added.
“Those technologies are top of mind because budgets are so tight right now,” Male said. “It's a little bit of back to the future. These were technologies folks were interested in a few years ago and are becoming popular again because they help to forestall additional IT purchases. We're seeing smaller spends on things that will bring a fast ROI.”
TheInfoPro's study found that IT managers are interested in solid state drives (SSD), but concluded that sales won't take off this year. According to Male, only about 50% of Fortune 1000 companies currently have SSD technology earmarked in their future technology spending plans. “There's interest, but it's not as top of mind as the market would like to say it is,” he said.
TheInfoPro's survey did find a trend toward the adoption of automated data tiering and automated data provisioning, as well as backup virtualization management, or being able to manage the backup of an entire data center's virtual server environment from a single console.