SNIA Previews User Survey Results

End User Council paints storage management issues with broad brush

October 26, 2005

3 Min Read
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage Networking World -- The customer arm of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) previewed survey results today, but the material they discussed was more about methodology than what's in the hearts and minds (and pocketbooks) of the 250 end-users they queried.

SNIA's End User Council (EUC) surveys its membership annually, according to outgoing council chair Laurence Whittaker, supervisor of enterprise storage management for the Hudson's Bay Company, Toronto. This year, the survey tried to drill down on users' pain points, including: storage management and customers' inability to manage assets; the lack of integrated interoperable solutions; their barriers to adoption; and their compliance and information lifecycle management (ILM) issues.

The EUC surveyed 250 end-users from small, medium, and large organizations with 50 percent represented by large companies with revenues of more than $1 billion.

But all in all, no big surprises: Users' biggest concern is reliability, according to Norman Owens, EUC secretary and storage architect with the Thomson Corp., a Stamford, Conn.-based software integrator. Owens also told Byte and Switch that surveyed users from the financial services sector were the only ones to make the distinction between compliance and ILM.

SNIA will release the survey results Nov. 9, he noted.But Tuesday's session provided a peak into what's bugging users. About 17 percent of the respondents -- one in six -- said the inability to manage storage assets and infrastructure was a big problem. They pointed to the need to decrease costs of management and maintenance to address this, as well as a desire for increased multi-vendor interoperability. Of this group, they are supporting three disk vendors and two switch vendors on average, according to EUC officials.

The lack of integrated or interoperable solutions was rated highly by 25 percent of the respondents. They said the costs associated with certification and testing of new equipment or software make it difficult to bring in new technology. They were "bullish" on tiered storage, but a bit dubious where content-addressable storage and virtualization are concerned, according to Owens.

Other 2005 EUC survey data points:

  • 28 percent of respondents agreed that "our storage infrastructure will meet our ILM requirements." Another 28 percent disagreed; 41 percent had no opinion.

  • 59 percent of survey respondents agreed that "Overall, compliance requirements will increase the cost of our storage infrastructure." Only 9 percent disagreed.

  • 82 percent of respondents said that a lack of time and money had some impact on major storage management initiatives. 37 percent said it caused significant impact and delay.

  • 28 percent recognized "how to provision storage for optimum application performance" as an issue, but had no idea how to address it. 41 percent said they had some understanding, and 15 percent said it was well understood.

  • 57 percent said their organization had or was forming dedicated storage management teams.

  • 42 percent said storage management technology could be justified with an acceptable ROI; an additional 22 percent said it would be easily justified.

    Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief, Byte and Switch

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