IT Execs Seek Alternatives to 'Storage Sinkhole' -

IT Execs Seek Alternatives to 'Storage Sinkhole'

IT executives faced with the need for "more and more storage" are turning to other strategies to control rising storage demands, according to a new report from Summit Strategies.

"Instead of constantly investing in new storage equipment, IT executives are now focusing on getting maximum use out of the equipment already in-house," analyst Joe Clabby wrote in the report, Staring Down the Storage Sinkhole. "In other words, they are now focusing on storage consolidation and virtualization in order to increase utilization."

Other strategies include automating storage management so storage administrators can manage more devices without the need for more staff, and placing the burden of integrating various components on storage vendors.

"Instead of buying security and virus management from one vendor, backup/restore utilities from another, and business continuity services from still another, and then going through the expense of integrating these components, storage executives are now placing the integration burden on their storage vendors," Clabby wrote.

Vendors that can provide integrated product portfolios that increase storage utilization rates while decreasing storage management costs will do well, the Summit report said.

"Those that fail to meet these objectives will find themselves scratching and clawing to hold onto their existing storage bases, lose account control, and will fail to capitalize on a major opportunity to build an incremental and recurring revenue source from the sale of storage management licenses," the report said.

Not surprisingly, vendors are already engaged in heated battle over this new storage management terrain. Just this week, IBM and EMC exchanged barbs on virtualization technology.

Summit gives EMC high marks for its information life cycle (ILM) solutions — "a pace that several vendors have had great difficulty following" — but adds that the company lags IBM, HDS and Sun in virtualization and provisioning. EMC will soon address the virtualization market with its long-awaited Storage Router.

IBM scored high with its "Virtualization Engine" technology. One component, the IBM SAN Volume Controller, "has seen strong adoption rates since its introduction," with 900 customers across 20 industries in 40 countries, "affirming and emphasizing IBM's position as an industry leader in storage virtualization."

HP is making inroads with its integrated StorageWorks and OpenView management portfolios, and recently introduced a combined server/storage management environment, Clabby wrote.

Microsoft and CA are moving aggressively into the management and virtualization space, and Clabby says Symantec probably won't stop with the acquisition of Veritas. "Summit Strategies believes that this is the first in a series of acquisitions that Symantec will undertake on a quest to build a more comprehensive, integrated storage management environment," he wrote.

Despite the progress, Clabby said vendors are just beginning to address the needs of storage users.

"Much more work needs to be done in the areas of storage virtualization and in the automated provisioning of storage workloads in order to truly attack people-related storage management costs through storage management automation," he concluded.

For more information on the report, visit the Summit Strategies Web site.

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