ZDE Report Validates Storage Sector as Healthiest in IT

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-12-09

ZDE Report Validates Storage Sector as Healthiest in IT

Ziff Davis Enterprise, publisher of eWEEK, on Dec. 9 reported survey results indicating that the data storage sector of IT generally remains unblemished by the economic downturn that is zapping most of the U.S. and world economy.

The survey and analysis for the new report, "Outlook for the 2009 Storage Market: An Online Survey of Ziff Davis Enterprise Storage Buyers," provided a validation of sorts for what eWEEK has been reporting in the last few months since the Wall Street and mortgage banking implosion caused the stock market to drop in precipitous fashion at the end of the third quarter.

Generally, large portions of the U.S. economy-especially real estate, general manufacturing, banking, construction and IT manufacturing-have been wracked with layoffs and dour financial reports. Despite this trend, the data storage sector continues to improve its position, with virtually all companies in the disk and tape storage markets-along with surrounding submarkets, such as storage controllers, data center management software and others-reporting increasing sales and revenue over 2007.

The ZDE survey results are in accord with similar market studies published by researchers IDC and Gartner in concluding that the data storage market is the healthiest overall sector in the IT industry.

"Despite the downturn in the macroeconomic conditions, our consensus is that in the short to medium term, storage is the most resistant to macroeconomic changes," IDC storage analyst Benjamin S. Woo told eWEEK on Oct. 16.

There is reason for most of the storage business to remain confident looking ahead to 2009-despite all the free-falls in other sectors of the economy. There is always going to be a need for secure places to house data, and the deluge of bits isn't slowing down anytime soon.

Highlights of the Survey

Highlights of the Survey

  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they will either maintain or increase their storage purchasing in 2009.
  • Despite the economic weakness, storage-capacity demand, storage spending and storage-related headcount all appear to be resilient.
  • Enterprise apps and data warehousing have replaced document imaging as top market drivers.
  • Web 2.0 applications are still having modest impact on increased storage demand, except to the extent that they encourage use of digital video.
  • Storage consolidation will continue without pause; almost everyone who has started consolidation will do further consolidation.
  • Although the long-term objective of storage virtualization is more efficient capacity utilization, the short-term effect is apparently to increase the "demand for capacity."
  • If implementation of an emerging storage technology has already begun, it is likely to get continued spending in 2009.

About two-thirds of the IT decision makers surveyed said they are responsible for their company's evaluation and purchasing of storage disk, tape and optical drives, and of server/backup/storage software.

A bit more than half of the respondents said they also have responsibility for their company's NAS (network-attached storage) and SAN (storage-area network) deployments. About 30 percent of the respondents claimed jurisdiction over their companies' virtualization deployments.

Enterprise Apps, Warehousing Driving Storage Needs

About one-third of the respondents reported that enterprise applications and data warehousing/mining are driving most of their storage hardware and software purchasing.

About 83 percent of respondents said they will continue or increase their storage consolidation projects in 2009, which indicates that storage virtualization software providers can expect to see a good number of new and returning customers in the next 12 months.

That 90 percent of respondents expect to increase their data intake in 2009 is no surprise, but the fact that almost 60 percent expect to increase their data stores by more than 25 percent is a telling statistic.

Seventy-three percent of companies expecting to spend for storage virtualization in 2008/2009 expect that virtualization to increase their demand for storage capacity in 2009.

The survey and analysis for the ZDE report was performed last month by Preference Research, of South Orange, N.J. The survey comprised a random sample of the Ziff Davis Enterprise audience. Respondents were screened for involvement in evaluating or purchasing a list of server-based storage technologies.

Survey estimates are accurate to within ??6.5 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

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