More is definitely more, survey shows

Three quarters of Australian companies want better disaster recovery and data backup capabilities, according to a survey of top IT executives.

The StorageTek survey, which canvassed storage managers from 60 medium- to large-sized organisations (from the banking, outsourcing and government sectors) in Australia and New Zealand, found 75.3 per cent of companies want to improve their disaster recovery capability.

Also listed as vital were reduced or eliminated back-up windows (51.8 per cent), while just under half (45.9 per cent) sought improvements in automated backup.

Grace Removals Group IT manager Howard Malyon said dealing with today's data explosion is a constant struggle. "There's so much data, it's a nightmare," he said.

The question of what an IT manager would do with the plethora of corporate data internally plagues Malyon. "You've got users asking what opportunities they can get from that internal data and indeed if they've missed any opportunities from it. But things like disaster recovery and backup are an exacting science in their own right."

StorageTek Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Joan Tunstall said better disaster recovery is top of mind for managers.

Increased volumes of business activity over the last few years have escalated the storage requirements of around 95 per cent of the companies surveyed. Compounding factors like more online data traffic following the dot.com boom two years ago and increased use of rich media applications, electronic images and e-mail, are also driving growth in storage needs, Tunstall said.

IT managers are struggling to establish a good management regime over their data, she said. "In a heterogenous environment, getting some centralised control over the data so it's safe in the event of a disaster is what businesses are asking for."

Other priorities for organisations surveyed were the need to improve data availability and management. Fewer than half the respondents (44.5 per cent) said data availability was important, 34 per cent wanted more sophisticated management tools, and 28.2 per cent rated storage-on-demand as a key concern.

Almost all organisations (95.1 per cent) surveyed had storage requirements growing at 25 per cent or more a year. Half were experiencing growth of 50 per cent or more, and one in four (24.4 per cent) had storage requirements which were doubling year on year. Only 4.9 per cent had stable storage requirements, according to the survey.

Tunstall said the storage management problem lies in the planning.

Malyon agreed but said planning is always the toughest step in such projects. "Unless you go through a disaster scenario, it's not an easy thing to plan around. Also, we haven't budgeted for storage management to any great extent this year so we're doing things a bit by stealth."

The survey found that most organisations (59.1per cent) are working with static budgets, with one in 10 (9.2 per cent) experiencing a budget cut. Only 30.7 per cent of companies' storage budgets increased this year.

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