Survey suggests iSCSI growth

By Dave Simpson

—A survey of 100 Fortune 1000 CIOs conducted last month by Citigroup included queries on IT storage spending and produced a number of expected—and some unexpected—results.

Not surprisingly, the survey indicates decreased spending on tape and a continuing trend toward disk-based backup and recovery. For example, 19% of the Citigroup survey respondents expect a decline in spending on tape over the next year. That compares to 15% in a Q2 survey and 7% in Q1.

Somewhat surprisingly, the survey indicates "flat" spending on Fibre Channel SAN components, most notably host bus adapters (HBAs) and, to a lesser degree, SAN switches. Only 13% of the respondents expect increased spending on storage networking hardware next year, compared to 29% in a Q2 survey. For HBAs alone, 87% of the CIOs predict flat spending and only 5.4% expect spending on HBAs to increase next year.

On the other hand, 72% of the survey respondents expect flat spending on SAN switches, while 21% expect increased spending on switches from vendors such as Brocade, McData, and Cisco.

Citigroup analysts suggest that decreasing or flat spending on Fibre Channel HBAs and switches may be attributable to two factors: increased adoption of iSCSI and blade servers.

As have many other surveys, the Citigroup report indicates increased end-user adoption of iSCSI after three years of delays. Although 51% of the respondents said that they are not planning to deploy iSCSI over the next 12 to 18 months, 21.5% have already budgeted for iSCSI and another 27.5% are in the evaluation phase. (Citigroup analysts note that increased use of iSCSI SANs, which in most cases will not include host adapters, may be contributing to weakness in overall HBA spending.)

One of the surprising results from the survey is that end users, even Fortune 1000 companies, are not rushing to adopt one of the most hyped technologies in the storage market: virtualization. Almost two-thirds (63.1%) of the CIOs reported that they have neither deployed storage virtualization nor are in the evaluation process.

IBM seems to be the most likely vendor choice for storage virtualization. For example, IBM was cited by 15.4% of the total respondents as a potential supplier, followed by EMC (7.7%), Hitachi Data Systems (4.6%), and "other" (9.2%). (The remaining 63.1% of respondents had no plans to evaluate storage virtualization.)

Finally, when asked to prioritize their storage-related initiatives over the next year, respondents in the Citigroup survey cited server/storage consolidation as the highest priority. Specifically, 47% ranked server/storage consolidation as a top priority, while 42% assigned it a "midrange level of focus," and 11% said it was a low priority.

Tape replacement for the first time was elevated to a higher priority than the other two high-priority initiatives: disaster recovery and storage security. In fact, more than twice as many respondents suggested that tape replacement was a high vs. a low priority (43% vs. 20%).

This article was originally published on August 30, 2005