The Storage Networking Industry Association End-User Council this week released findings from its 2005 Storage Management survey, highlighting a variety of issues storage vendors must address in the coming year in order to simplify increasingly complex storage infrastructures and help customers deal with massive data growth.
The EUC Survey garnered 252 responses from qualified end users addressing four focus categories: inability to manage storage assets and infrastructure; lack of integrated offerings; barriers to adoption; and compliance and ILM (information lifecycle management) offerings.
Survey respondents were pooled from three target audiences—EUC members, Storage Networking World Conference end-user attendees, and SNUG (StorageNetworking.org User Group) members, according to officials of San Francisco-based SNIA.
According to the SNIA EUC survey, 92 percent of respondents rated reliability as “Very Important” or “Important,” 85 percent listed recovery or business continuity as a top priority, and 80 percent chose cost containment as a top priority.
Closely mirroring SNIAs efforts to push along storage vendor device and software plug-in standardization efforts such as SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification) and XAM (eXtensible Access Method), one in four survey respondents matched the profile of users struggling with a lack of integrated or interoperable products.
This group drew attention to “Certification and Testing Efforts” as a significant barrier to adopting new technologies within enterprise environments.
In the area of “Inability to manage storage assets and infrastructure,” one in six survey respondents fit the profile of users encountering a level of difficulty in managing their current storage assets and infrastructure.
These users identified SMI-S as a key component in enabling “Decreased cost of management and maintenance” and “Increased multi-vendor interoperability.” Currently in Version 1.0.2, SMI-S is designed to tie together all objects within a multivendor SAN (storage area network) and software used to manage those devices and appliances, SNIA officials said.
In the category of “Challenging issues in relation to storage,” the EUC survey found that users designated two key areas, with the top issue being “Managing growth and meeting capacity needs” at 67 percent, and the second being “Managing the I need it now capacity demands,” which registered at 59 percent.
In addition, 56 percent of respondents ranked “Perceived productivity enablers—justifying expenditures” just behind in that section.
In the area of specific storage management issues, 73 percent of end-users rated “IT budget constraints” as “Challenging” or “Very Challenging,” 63 percent picked “Reliable backup and recovery solutions” as their biggest storage management hurdle, and, in a tie, 61 percent of respondents chose “Managing the complexity of the storage infrastructure,” while 61 percent also said “Lack of management tools” was something they struggled with in 2005.
Other key findings of the 2005 EUC Survey include:
- Small businesses with fewer than 5,000 employees rate “Security” as their most challenging issue.
- 57 percent of respondents indicated that their companies have or are forming separate storage teams to address storage complexity.
- Compliance is gaining in importance, but is significantly less of an immediate concern in the small business sector as opposed to for the medium and large business audience.