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Storage Hardware Continues Growth
At the October 2008 Storage Networking World Conference in Dallas, sponsored by the Storage Networking Industry Association and Computerworld, the overall sentiment expressed by attendees and storage vendors remained firmly bullish. Despite economic uncertainties and a drag on information technology (IT) spending, storage hardware not only bucks the slowing hardware procurement trend but continues to forecast solid growth.

The reason is simple, despite a struggling economy, the amount of data that must be stored for operational, analysis, compliance and regulatory reasons continues to grow with no end in sight. As succinctly stated by Gary Pedersen, storage manager for the city of Plano, Texas, the IT department must move forward with storage projects as planned because "data is just coming out of everybody's ears. We have to keep up with it or we'll sink." Plano's local government is looking to upgrade its data storage infrastructure with new hardware and storage-area networks (SANs). "We're beyond adding on," Pedersen said. While new data must be accommodated, cost is becoming a more serious factor. Pedersen commented he may consider a change from Fibre channel SAN technology to less expensive iSCSI technology.

The uncertain economy also isn't slowing storage strategy plans at Leprechaun LLC, said Ann Jones, a network storage engineer at the Fort Worth, Texas-based data management services provider. Because of increasing federal rules mandating additional audits of health care records-management practices, data is "coming online faster than we can keep up with it," Jones said. As a result, the company is gearing up to buy new storage capacity and data backup technology.

The city of Bryan, Texas, is in the second year of a three-year disaster recovery project, and IT manager Gustavo Roman, expects the project to continue as planed. "You don't want to have a knee-jerk reaction," Roman said. But he added that prior funding may be challenged by cost cutting or competing projects if IT spending continues to decline.

University of Arkansas systems programmer James McCartney indicated the school's IT spending has yet to feel any noticeable decline. However, even before the economic and financial concerns began escalating some time ago, McCartney and other IT professionals began looking for ways to save money on storage - largely through the addition of new technologies. Storage virtualization seems to be one commonly cited option. The IT division is also exploring the concept of creating multiple storage tiers so it can move lower-priority data to less-expensive hardware.

 
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