In the Xiotech-sponsored survey of more than 150 IT managers, 80 percent of respondents ranked reliability as the most important attribute when evaluating storage system alternatives. When asked for their No. 1 concern regarding their storage infrastructure, 40 percent of respondents cited capacity or scalability. The question facing the storage industry is whether the current model can continue to support this growth in an economically practical manner while maintaining the reliability standards businesses require.
Industry experts forecast continued rapid growth in storage, with industry analyst firm IDC predicting that new capacity shipped on total disk storage systems will increase from approximately 5,342 petabytes in 2007 to 32,838 petabytes by 2011.
IDC also predicts that while the up-front cost per gigabyte of total disk storage systems is expected to fall from $5.22 in 2007 to $0.99 by 2011, overall spending on these storage systems is expected to increase from an estimated $27.9 billion worldwide in 2007 to $32.4 billion in 2011, with a corresponding increase in services spending. These increases are squeezing IT budgets.
"The industry is on pace for a data storage crisis in the next few years," predicts Steve Sicola, chief technology officer at Xiotech. "The cost of adding a gigabyte of storage is dropping nicely every year, but the cost of managing, protecting and servicing that storage continues to grow. Drives are the most numerous constituent of data centers, and with that have the largest probability of failure. If demand for storage continues at the expected pace and nothing is done, we may see a significant increase in data loss and accelerating cost inefficiencies."