The economy is improving, and backup and recovery is the function that is both the most and least costly, compared to expectations, according to a recent straw poll that Commvault Systems performed with its customers to determine how they saw their budgets and resource allocation shaping up for 2011. Other major priorities determined by the non-scientific survey included managing the growth of data and spending on networks and equipment, particularly in the context of consolidating data protection. While the economy itself may have stalled, the growth of data has not, and IT organizations are expected to do more with the same or fewer resources.
The top budget priorities for 2011 were managing data growth, followed by network and equipment, disaster recovery, applications/software, and data backup and recovery. The survey also found that 43 percent of those polled reported allocating up to 10 percent for overall data protection, while another 36 percent planned to spend between 11 and 20 percent of their budget on data protection, hardware, software, services/support and media.
There are some bright spots in the economy for the upcoming year, says Jeff Dorr, senior product marketing manager for CommVault. Nearly 30 percent of respondents say that they expect to see an increase in budgets, while 20 percent say they expect to see an increase in the number of employees, according to Dorr. Twenty-six percent were undecided on changes to their staffing. However, half of the respondents say that they expect to see flat budgets, and 54 percent expect flat headcounts in the coming year, he reports.
One surprise was a divergence between the concern respondents have with backup and recovery, compared with where it stands as a budget priority, Dorr says. While backup and recovery came in second in response to the question, "What is your organization's most pressing data management/storage challenge, concern or issue going into 2011?" it came in only seventh in response to the question, "What is your #1 IT budget priority for 2011?" Similarly, backup and recovery came in first as the answer to both "Which of the following key storage technologies did you spend more than budgeted for the year?" and "Which of the following key storage technologies did you spend less than budgeted for the year?"
The survey was performed in early December, and 7,900 of Commvault's more than 12,000 customers were invited to respond to an online poll, in return for a chance at an unspecified incentive, the company says. Of those invited, approximately 330 responded, for a return rate of approximately 4 percent. Respondents answered a series of multiple-choice questions. More than 60 percent of the respondents came from organizations with between 500 to 10,000 employees, representing a variety of industry sectors, including government, education, manufacturing, health care, financial services, engineering and retail. Nearly 50 percent of the respondents were responsible for managing between six to 25Tbytes of primary data last year; 22 percent managed fewer than 25 physical servers, while 24 percent managed fewer than 25 virtual servers.