Today’s businesses face a constant struggle to manage and protect data. In fact, Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research shows that 90% of organizations surveyed are increasing or maintaining their spending on storage infrastructure.1 The volume of data continues to expand drastically as organizations gather increasing amounts of information and rely on digital processes to run their businesses. Technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing also demand scalable storage resources that are centralized and shared. Now, intelligent storage technologies, such as scale-out and unified storage, are emerging to address those needs. The challenge for businesses is to contain costs while adopting advanced storage technologies to manage data growth.

More than one-quarter (28%) of respondents are currently using unified storage, a technology that consolidates file-based network attached storage (NAS) and block-based storage area networks (SANs).2 By combining NAS and SAN, unified storage helps improve capacity utilization and simplify management, among other operational efficiencies. ESG’s research shows that unified storage is well received, and it has the potential for widespread adoption.

When evaluating storage products, many businesses consider total cost of ownership (TCO) as a major factor. Over half (65%) of the respondents indicated that capital expenditure — specifically, the cost of the storage infrastructure — was the most important cost consideration.3 Because intelligent storage is designed to optimize the utilization of existing capacity, it helps rein in storage costs and enables businesses to defer capital expenditures on storage.

1 Source: “ESG Research Report: 2012 IT Spending Intentions Survey,” January 2012.

2 Source: “ESG Research Report: 2012 Storage Market Trends,” October 2012

3 Source: “ESG Research Report: 2012 Storage Market Trends,” October 2012

Biggest storage challenges

In general, what would you say are your organization’s biggest challenges in terms of its storage environment? (Percent of respondents, N=418)

Biggest storage challenges

Storage-specific investments over the next 12 months

In which of the following data storage infrastructure areas will your organization make the most significant investments over the next 12 months? (Percent of respondents, N=296; five responses accepted)

Storage-specific investments over the next 12 months

Current usage of unified storage systems

Does your organization use unified storage systems that consolidate file-based and block-based access in a single storage platform? (Percent of respondents, N=418)

Current usage of unified storage systems

Important cost considerations for storage TCO calculation

Which of the following cost considerations that factor into a TCO calculation would you consider to be the most important? (Percent of respondents, N=271)

Important cost considerations for storage TCO calculation

Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) is an integrated IT research, analysis and strategy firm that is renowned for providing actionable insight and intelligence to the global IT community. Recognized for its innovative blend of capabilities — including market research, hands-on technical product validation and expert consulting methodologies such as the ESG Strategy Lifecycle — ESG is relied upon by IT professionals, technology vendors, investors and the media to clarify the complex. For more information, visit http://www.esg-global.com.