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Users Set to Flash Storage Cash

By most accounts, storage spending is poised to grow in 2006, even as users focus their expenditures on low-cost storage products.

Analysts foresee healthy storage spending in 2006 as firms open their coffers to deal with spiralling volumes of data. Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., which recently surveyed 45 organizations about their 2006 spending plans, found that storage, security, and server consolidation are the top priorities for the coming year.

Dan Renouard, senior research analyst at Baird, estimates that total spending on storage -- including hardware, software and services -- was around $50 billion in 2005; although he told Byte and Switch that this figure could grow to $55 billion next year. I think that 2006 is going to be a lot like 2005, which was a reasonable growth year,” he says.

Renouard thinks that a number of factors are driving this demand. “It’s growth of information, it’s compliance and regulations, and it’s managing email,” he says, adding that many firms are looking to technologies such as information lifecycle management (ILM) to get a grip on their stored data.

Currently, users are unsure about how much data they actually own. “Most companies don’t really know,” he explains. “If you ask them how many servers or terabytes of storage they have, most of them can’t answer that question directly.”

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