Disparate storage environments spiral out of control

Products becoming more complex

A staggering eight out of 10 Australian enterprises willingly admit their storage environments are "out of control" but claim they cannot address the problem because consolidation costs are too high.

Australian IT managers are reluctant to switch to a consolidated storage environment due to high costs.

As a result they are left grappling with disparate systems, according to an online Computerworld poll.

The storage poll asked respondents: Are you consolidating your disparate storage systems?

Not a single respondent said they were undertaking consolidation to reduce maintenance costs. While 86 percent said their storage environment is out of control, a further 14 percent said upfront costs to consolidate are too high.

IRBS analyst, Kevin McIsaac, said he isn't surprised so many respondents believe their data storage environment is out of control.

"I believe that storage is one of the significant infrastructure problems of today because data growth rates are so high," he said.

Annual data growth rates have almost doubled from an average of 30 per cent to about 60 per cent today.

For many organizations, it can seem that the cost of switching to unified data storage solutions outweighs the savings the solutions can provide.

The problem, according to McIsaac, is that most IT managers don't appreciate the true cost of data storage.

"Most organizations can tell you how much they spend buying storage hardware, maybe how much they spend on storage software, but they can't tell you what the cost is over, say, a four or five year lifespan," he said.

Networked storage can save money in the long term, he said.

"In the long run it should be cheaper because the cost of ownership should be lower," McIsaac added.

"The department of defence has in excess of 200 terabytes of storage across 80 different sites around Australia. And they only have one storage administrator managing that data; in other words data management costs are kept low," he said.

"But often the potential savings involved with switching to a unified storage environment aren't immediately clear."

ARD Consulting IT manager, Eric Biggsley, outsources backup and recovery operations because it isn't considered "core" to the company.

Also, Biggsley says backup isn't as simple as it used to be and he recognizes that as a mid-sized organization, storage can be expensive.

"The good news is that better technology is making it more affordable; today I can buy storage arrays with advanced, enterprise features that are available for the midmarket," Biggsley said.

"The bad news is that the market is becoming more complex because there are highly specialized products to solve specific problems, especially with compliance dominating the vendor sales pitch these days."

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