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Use of the cloud (compute and storage) tops IT departments' to-do lists, while storage and backup for virtualised environments is still a key priority, although declining.
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Meanwhile -- and somewhat surprisingly -- flash storage deployment appears to have plateaued.
Those are the findings of the ComputerWeekly.com/TechTarget IT Priorities Survey for 2016, which questioned 194 IT professionals in the UK and Ireland.
Spend on the cloud seems to be set to eclipse in-house hardware and software in 2016. When asked which areas would see increases in IT budget this year, cloud services (computing and storage) come out top (50%), while software (48%) and hardware (33%) follow behind.
To put that in perspective, at the same time 37% expect a drop in hardware spend and 22% expect shrinkage in software spend. However, only 4% believe spending on cloud will decrease.
When asked specifically about back-up projects in 2016, cloud again came out well, with 30% planning to implement cloud backup -- the same as 2015.
Virtualisation continues as a key project, and spin-off tasks such as storage and backup for virtual environments are still important, although increasingly looking like a case of "job done".
Read more about IT priorities
Server virtualisation is a priority for 38% of respondents, while virtual desktops are high on the to-do list for 22%. Meanwhile, storage for virtual environments is a key priority for 24% of those questioned (slightly down from 26% in 2015).
Backup for virtual servers continues to be a key priority, with 23% planning to deploy it in 2016. That figure, however, seems to indicate IT departments have increasingly got to grips with this task. It is down from 28% in 2015, 36% in 2014 and 41% in 2013.
Solid state storage is a key project for 16% of respondents, down slightly from just about plateauing across 2015 (19%), 2014 (20%) and 2013 (18%).
When asked about overall IT priorities, the key storage-related project indicated by respondents is compliance, which is a priority for 37% of those questioned.
Possibly in keeping with this, in-house disaster recovery was indicated as a key storage priority (37%), while snapshots and replication are another key data protection project under way for many (24%).
Overall IT budgets are relatively flat. Some 25% have the same budget as 2015, but 34% expect budgets increases of 5% or more.