ILM trumps data security in survey

—A recent survey conducted by GlassHouse Technologies, a storage consulting and services provider, reveals that both regional and multi-national companies will focus on increasing storage infrastructure efficiencies and holding down costs in 2006. The "2006 Storage Budget Survey" also reveals that information lifecycle management (ILM) is seen by the respondents as the means to controlling costs. In fact, ILM moved ahead to a primary concern for companies of all sizes from a secondary concern last year.

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Plans for ILM eclipse those of data security this year, despite many high-profile breaches in data security during 2005. Similarly, a previous survey by GlassHouse revealed that 54% of respondents had no documented procedures in place for protecting data from theft or tampering (see Survey reveals lack of data security).

According to GlassHouse, most companies only use 25% of their total storage capacity, and they continue to buy more capacity to hedge against future data growth. Using ILM technology, data is actively managed from the time it is created until it is destroyed, rather than warehousing it indefinitely. The majority of the 100 respondents to the survey see ILM as the means to control cost through more-efficient asset allocation.

Nearly half of the companies surveyed mirror their storage. While mirroring is valuable for data protection and can speed backups, GlassHouse cautions that selecting and configuring mirroring tools can be complicated, and the extra storage space required can multiply quickly.

Companies of all sizes are focused on utilization savings, according to the survey. Larger companies want to save money in more areas than smaller companies, also focusing on savings in unit costs and staff/management.

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Larger companies are also more likely (63%) to include staff and management costs in their storage budgets along with the traditional hardware costs. Only 33% of smaller companies ($25 million and under) include staff and management costs in their storage budgets. GlassHouse states that an integrated storage budgeting approach would include hardware, software, environmentals, and personnel. Only 20% of all companies surveyed include environmentals in their storage budgets.

The GlassHouse report states, "All of these non-hardware costs are important to understand. While cost of storage and backup equipment is certainly high, companies must understand the total cost of delivering storage services if they are to make improvements."

Full results of the survey are available at www.glasshouse.com/budgets. This is the second in a series of surveys on data storage issues planned by GlassHouse. The first one, "2005 Storage Security Survey," released in November 2005, is available at www.glasshouse.com/results.

This article was originally published on January 26, 2006