Storage growth spawns budget pressures

By Kevin Komiega

—Experts have been saying for years that data is growing at an explosive rate, but it seems capacity growth, at least in Fortune 1000 companies, is even more rapid than once thought.

According to the latest wave of end-user research from TheInfoPro (TIP), an industry analyst firm, the average installed capacity in Fortune 1000 organizations has jumped from 198 TB in early 2005 to 680 TB in October 2006. After breaking down the numbers, TIP found that capacity is doubling every 10 months.

TIP's results are based on 154 interviews with storage professionals in Fortune 1000 companies.

"For the last four Waves of research, installed storage capacity in the Fortune 1000 has doubled every 10 months. It is an astonishing rate, with staffing and backup administration struggling to keep up," says Robert Stevenson, managing director of TheInfoPro's storage sector.

TIP's research shows that the percentage of the Fortune 1000 data-center budget dedicated to storage has also seen a rapid increase. Almost 50% of the organizations interviewed stated that storage occupies more than 15% of their data-center budget, with consolidation and virtualization strategies ranking high among the Fortune 1000 as the top cost-saving storage initiatives.

"We are hearing more and more about capital expenditures, and more companies are looking harder at the bottom line," says Stevenson. "The portion of the IT budget being dedicated to storage is starting to trigger alarms."

Stevenson says increasing budget pressures coupled with capacity growth will impact storage infrastructures in many different ways. Topping the list will be a push for more server and storage consolidation projects throughout the year. He also believes the same pressures are forcing end users to completely re-architect their backup infrastructures.

Some of the technologies expected to increase in popularity as a result of these growth trends are server virtualization and new tools for archiving.

"Server virtualization is going to accelerate and end users want to do archiving in a more intelligent way by using a combination of data classification, de-duplication, and compression capabilities," Stevenson says.

This article was originally published on October 19, 2006