ILM Drives Surge in Storage Services


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Without much fanfare, storage services has been the only growth area in storage for the last decade. As well as traditional areas such as consulting, implementation/integration and support, the last couple of years have seen a sharp incline in such services as outsourced backup, offsite archiving and on-demand storage.

“From $23.4 billion in 2003, the storage services sector will surge above $30 billion by 2008.”

—Doug Chandler, program director, IDC.

According to International Data Corp (IDC) of Framingham, Mass., the storage services sector will continue to expand over the next five years.

"From $23.4 billion in 2003, the storage services sector will surge above $30 billion by 2008," said Doug Chandler, program director at IDC.

IDC breaks the market down into four key segments. Storage support has the lion's share of services, followed by integration, then management and consulting. While consulting may have been a gravy train in the late '90s, things have changed sharply since the bubble burst. Chandler notes that there is clearly a limited budget among storage professionals for anything that smells like consulting.

There are a number of key players in this market. The Big Four of the services world of Accenture, CG&Y, Deloitte & Touche and Bearing Point. Then there are large outsourcing giants like IBM, EDS and CSC who have seen a huge increase in storage provision in recent years. Niche players in the services market include Zantaz, Iron Mountain and GlassHouse.

"There is no doubt that IBM's outsourcing business is a big driver of the company's storage services engagements," said Chandler.

Tiered Storage Opportunity
Two new movements could cause a major boost to storage services: tiered storage and information lifecycle management (ILM).

Tiered storage may be in the news a lot, but it has a ways to go before it becomes an everyday part of storage architectures. A recent IDC survey shows that most large storage environments (defined as 5 TB or more) have yet to adopt tiered storage. About 25 percent have implemented it, another 5 percent are exploring it and the rest have, so far, left it alone.

At the other end of the spectrum, in small storage environments (defined as less than 500 GB), almost 90 percent of respondents have no ongoing, tiered storage project. Further, they express reluctance to deploy it if it means heavy expenditure in services.

"Many customers serious about ILM and/or tiered storage will need help assessing what they have," said Chandler. "But if tiered storage or ILM means a heavy services spend, customers will limit their adoption."

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