Biggest challenge for data storage: Data Growth

Data growth is the biggest data center hardware infrastructure challenge for large enterprises, according to a new survey by research firm Gartner Inc.
According to Gartner, 47% of the respondents to a survey conducted over the summer ranked data growth in their top three challenges. With spending returning to more normal levels after a couple of down years because of the economy, 62% said they plan to expand hardware capacity at existing data centers by the end of 2011; 30% plan to build entirely new data centers.

The survey took place in 2011 and involved IT staffers from 1,004 large enterprises in eight countries. The data from it is available online.

In addition to concerns about data growth, 37% of those surveyed named system performance and scalability as the second biggest challenge for them in the coming year, with 36% citing network congestion and connectivity issues.Survey respondents chose archiving and data "retirement projects" as their most popular approach to dealing with their data explosion. 62% indicated they will invest in data retirement efforts or continue to push ongoing efforts through the end of 2011.

While survey respondents pointed to data growth as their top challenge, they did not blame a lack of data center capacity as driving their strategic plans. Instead, they indicated business continuity and data availability as their chief reasons. The second and third most commonly mentioned drivers for strategic change were data containment initiatives, named by 37% of respondents, and maintaining or improving user service levels and satisfaction, which was named by 36% of those surveyed.

Other projects at the top of IT staffers' lists for 2011 include: data security from internal or external hackers; storage consolidation; storage management tools rollouts; and data reduction techniques. When it comes to technology investments, server virtualization topped the list with 67% of respondents saying they plan to spend money on that in 2011. About 56% of respondents said they also plan to invest in application consolidation. And 51% plan to spend money on blade servers.

Respondents were split when it came to IT budgets, with 44% indicating it would increase over the next year, 40% saying it would stay the same and 14% indicating it would decrease. Two-percent said they didn't know what would happen to their budgets.

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