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Corporate Storage Trends
Public Cloud Storage Services Most Popular

 


About This Report: In August, the 451 Global Digital Infrastructure Alliance surveyed 464 members about key storage trends within their organizations, including 90-day spending plans, use of public cloud storage services, and staffing.

 

Storage 90-Day Spending. A total of 34% (down 2-pts) of respondents expect their organizations’ storage spending to increase over the next 90 days, while only 7% expect a decrease – a one-point improvement from the previous period.

In Use. Public Cloud Storage Services (46%) are currently the most widely used storage system among the respondents, followed by All-Flash Array (40%) and SDS on x86 Servers (40%).

Storage in Cloud. According to respondents, currently 21% of their organizations’ total storage capacity resides in third-party public cloud or SaaS environments and that number is expected to grow to 37% over the next two years.

Staffing Shortages. Overall three quarters of the respondents said they do not have a staffing shortage in storage. Of the IT/Engineering Managers and Staff respondents, 32% said they are facing a skill shortage in contrast to just 20% of Senior Management.

Pain Point. With the growing number of options for handling storage infrastructure, respondents were asked if they see storage as becoming more or less of an IT pain point in their organizations. As it turns out, 67% of respondents said it was becoming less of an IT pain point and only a third said more of a pain point.

By Tracy Corbo

Storage 90-Day Spending Trends

A total of 34% (down 2-pts) of respondents expect their organizations’ storage spending to increase over the next 90 days, while only 7% expect a decrease – a one-point improvement from the previous period.

Looking across over the last year, storage 90-day spending increases have remained fairly constant, with the current quarter showing a slight dip in spending. In contrast, those who plan to stay the course on 90-day spending have increased five points to 59% from 54% in July 2016.

Storage Technology Adoption

The adoption of storage technologies varies by company size. Some technologies such as public cloud storage services and SDS on standard x86 servers have broader appeal across organizations of all sizes, while all-flash arrays and object storage are more popular in larger organizations.

The following series of charts shows the adoptions status of the various storage technologies by company size.

Public Cloud Storage. Public cloud storage services is currently the most widely adopted storage system across organizations of all sizes with more than half In-use/In pilot.

SDS on Standard x86 Servers. Also popular among organizations of all sizes with 60% of very large organizations and nearly half 49% of very small ones currently using the technology or running pilots.

HCI. HCI technology is currently In-use/In pilot (67%) among very large organizations with only 27% of very small organizations currently implementing the technology.

Object Storage. While slightly more than half (52%) of very large organizations are currently In-use/In pilot with object storage technology, 63% of very small organizations (less than 249 employees) have no plans to implement that technology over the next two years.

Public Cloud

In order to better understand the impact of public cloud on storage, respondents were asked several questions with regard to their use of public cloud and SaaS environments for storage services.

Storage in Cloud. According to respondents, currently 21% of their organizations’ total storage capacity resides in third-party public cloud or SaaS environments and that number is expected to grow to 37% over the next two years.

Cloud-based Storage Services. Respondents were asked to identify which of the following public cloud and SaaS-related storage services and capabilities their company is using now and what they plan to be using in two years. Currently, the most popular service is using cloud as the primary storage location for cloud-based applications (47%) followed by backup/recovery (38%) and file syncing and sharing (36%).

Looking out two years indicates growing interest in deploying more cloud-based storage services across the board with disaster recovery jumping up to 46% and cloud archiving to 45%.

Spending on Cloud Services. Respondents were asked to identify how their spending was distributed across the various public cloud storage services. On average, the most is being spent on using cloud as a primary storage location for cloud-based applications (29%) and that is expected to remain the biggest allocation in two years.

Public Cloud Providers. Taking a look at which public cloud providers respondents are using for their storage needs, over half of the respondents use Microsoft Azure (52%). Another 39% are using AWS. Dropbox (20%) was a more distant third.

Staffing

In terms of staffing, smaller organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees the median number of FTEs dedicated to storage is just one in contrast to 20 for IT FTEs in companies with 250-999 employees. Looking at larger organizations the number of dedicated storage FTEs jumps to 6 for very large organizations with more than 10,000 employees, while the number of IT FTEs jumps to 200.

Staffing Shortages. Overall, three-quarters of the respondents said they do not have a staffing shortage in storage. Of the IT/Engineering Managers and Staff respondents, 32% said they are facing a skills shortage in contrast to just 20% of Senior Management.

Influence on Storage Strategy. IT leadership is typically the primary decision-maker for storage product investments. Respondents were asked which other IT disciplines have some influence over their organizations’ storage strategies outside of storage specialists. Turns out by quite a margin, Systems/Server Admins (54%) top the list, followed more distantly by VM Admins (30%) and Networking Admins (27%).

Storage As A Pain Point

With the growing number of options for handling storage infrastructure, respondents were asked if they see storage as becoming more or less of an IT pain point in their organizations. As it turns out, 67% of respondents said it was becoming less of an IT pain point and that number was slightly higher (75%) for very large organizations with more than 10,000 employees.

For the third of respondents who said it was becoming more of a pain point, they were asked why that was the case and Increasing Operational Costs (57%) edged out Increasing Complexity (50%) for the top reason.

You can access a PDF version of this 451 Alliance report here.

If you have any questions about your 451 Alliance membership, please contact 451Alliance@451Alliance.com
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Appendix: Storage Definitions