By Dave Simpson
—According to a survey of more than 80 end users conducted by the Robert W Baird Ltd. investment research firm, user spending on storage will pick up in the second half of this year, particularly on technologies such as networked storage. For example, 77% of the survey respondents expect to spend at least the same amount on storage as they spent last year. About half of the companies forecast annual capacity increases of 20% to 39%.
Server-attached rates for networked storage continue to grow steadily. In the Baird survey, 92% of the companies had some form of networked storage (NAS, Fibre Channel SAN, and/or iSCSI SAN), although only 40% of their aggregate servers are attached to a storage network. However, users expect the server-attach rate to increase to 68% in 2007.
In the case of Fibre Channel SANs, users expect the server-attach rate to climb from the current average of 29% to 68% in 2007. Baird analysts note that this trend is driven in part by increased use of server virtualization and blade servers. Surprisingly, nearly half (48%) of the companies in the Baird survey are already using blade servers. (The top-three blade server vendors were Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and IBM with a market share of 51%, 30%, and 27%, respectively.)
While only 14% of the survey respondents are currently using iSCSI, 71% said they would consider or evaluate iSCSI-based SANs this year. Baird analysts speculate that the increased use of server virtualization and blade technology has possibly reduced overall demand for IP storage technologies such as iSCSI.
The Baird survey also suggests that end-user spending on tape products is slowing down in light of disk-to-disk alternatives based on low-cost ATA and Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives. For example, 48% of the survey participants plan to spend less on tape this year, compared to only 26% in last year's survey.
More than half (56%) of the survey respondents are already using ATA or SATA disk arrays, and another 29% expressed interest in the technology. And 70% of the users said that the primary reason for implementing ATA/SATA was to either replace or supplement tape-based backup/recovery.