Survey reveals virtualization, iSCSI plans

By Dave Simpson

—According to a recent survey of IT operations managers conducted by Citigroup, about 40% are evaluating and/or testing storage virtualization products. And not surprisingly, most of the companies kicking the tires are large enterprises, where the cost savings benefits of virtualization will be most pronounced.

For example, more than half (55%) of large enterprises are evaluating or testing storage virtualization products, while less than one-third of the small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) surveyed are evaluating the technology.

Operations managers view IBM as the leader in the storage virtualization market. In the Citigroup survey, 18% of the respondents cited IBM, followed by Hewlett-Packard with 8% of the respondents.

In a previous Citigroup survey of CIOs, EMC was cited as the leader in storage virtualization. However, only 4% of the operations managers considered EMC as the leader.

(As an indication of the infancy of the storage virtualization market, 60% of the operations managers surveyed did not respond to the market leader question or else they checked "not applicable.")

Although storage virtualization is still in its infancy, adoption of server virtualization is picking up rapidly, led by EMC's VMware software. And the Citigroup survey of IT operations managers suggests that adoption of server virtualization will have a positive effect on storage spending in product categories such as SAN-based arrays (a net 16% increase in spending), NAS (7%), Fibre Channel switches (6%), host bus adapters (4%), and storage management software (2%).

Citigroup analysts also queried operations managers about their plans for iSCSI. About 64% of the total respondents had no plans for adoption of iSCSI-based IP SANs within the next year, and 70% of the users in large enterprises—where Fibre Channel is pervasive—had no plans to evaluate or deploy iSCSI this year.

However, among SMBs iSCSI appears to have better traction. For example, about 40% of the operations managers from SMBs have some involvement (evaluation, testing, or deployment) with iSCSI.

The results of the Citigroup survey (1H06 Operations Manager survey: Budgets Up, SAN Still Ahead of NAS) also suggest that spending on SANs will outpace spending on NAS by an approximately 5:1. It should be noted, however, that the survey was based on interviews with only 50 operations managers (although Citigroup's CIO survey includes more than 200 executives).

This article was originally published on July 05, 2006