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Survey: SATA, Email Sizzling

Email management software and SATA drives are most prominent on storage professionals radar screens, while virtual tape is moving up fast, according to the latest research from TheInfoPro Inc. (TIP).

TIP compiles two storage "heat indexes" every six months: a software-oriented management index and a hardware-oriented technology list. The research company interviewed more than 150 storage professionals from Fortune 1000 firms for the latest study, asking them to prioritize technologies based on near-term spending plans.

Email tools topped the management heat index, jumping from fifth place six months ago. Of all respondents, 35 percent said they have dedicated email management tools now; 23 percent plan to implement them this year; and 14 percent include email management in their 2006 plans.

The other top management topics were disk-to-disk backup, hierarchical storage management (HSM), information lifecycle management (ILM), and storage resource management (SRM).

SATA drives led the technology index for the second straight time, with 90 percent of the companies interviewed planning to use them by 2006 and 30 percent of SATA customers planning to spend more than $500,000 on additional SATA drives this year (see Souping Up SATA and Survey: SATA, IP SANs Hot Priorities).

Virtual tape libraries (VTLs) placed second on the technology heat index behind SATA drives, moving up from fifth place six months ago. Apparently, companies want better backup than tape provides (see Tape Vendors Grab Disk). Only 31 percent said they are using VTLs now, but 27 percent plan to implement them this year and 15 percent next year.

Rounding out the top five technologies were policy-based archiving, asynchronous remote mirroring, and IP SANs.

TIP CEO Ken Male says despite ILM and IP SANs placing high, they’re not yet living up to the hype. He says interviews with storage pros indicate true ILM is not yet possible, hence the emphasis on ILM pieces such as policy-based archiving, HSM, and disk backup (see ILM: Edging Toward Reality).

“There is a loud cry about the inability to move data between tiers,” Male says. “Storage pros feel the market has been unable to deliver [ILM] since last year’s hype.”

As for IP SANs, they dropped from second place six months ago to fifth on the technology index (see EMC Mounts iSCSI Blitz, NetApp Banks on iSCSI, and Startups Look to iSCSI Surge). “They’re moving from a near-term to a longer-term priority,” he says. “It’s something people expect to use next year instead of this year.”

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) appears best positioned to cash in on the hottest technologies. TIP asked storage professionals which vendor they are most likely to use in the implementations they are planning. The pros named EMC as the lead vendor for each of the top five technology and management topics.

EMC was also named most frequently as the vendor with exciting new products or technologies. The storage pros are looking beyond just the major players, though. Half the vendors respondents listed as having exciting products are startups. Here's the list, in order from first to last:

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