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Use of cloud storage is on the rise as a way of gaining capacity without affecting on-premise spend. But at the same time, organisations have pulled some workloads back from the cloud and are saving money by using software-defined storage.
These are some of the key findings of a survey by analysts Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) which involved 412 respondents in mid-size (33%) and enterprise (67%) organisations across the UK and Europe.
The findings have led ESG to characterise such customer behaviour as “hybrid-cloud-defined”. This is where IT professionals try to find a balance between storage types – neither predominantly on-premise or cloud – whereas in the past, storage was all about steady progress in essentially similar storage systems.
Key among the responses to the survey that seem to have fed that conclusion include the use of cloud storage as a way of gaining storage capacity without additional on-premise spend (cited by 36%, equal with big data analytics).
Meanwhile, the vast majority of respondents (94%) reported their spend on on-premise data storage to be accelerating (49%) or remaining constant (45%).
The survey also asked those whose storage spending was flat or falling what they thought was responsible. Top answer here (39%) was that respondents believe their organisations are storing data more efficiently. Meanwhile, and possibly elaborating on that, 37% are using more cloud applications while 34% are using more cloud infrastructure services.
Read more on hybrid cloud
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But although cloud figured heavily as a spending target, the survey also found that 57% had moved at least one workload from a cloud software or infrastructure service back to on-premise resources.
And 23% of those with flat/falling storage spend cited the use of software-defined storage with commodity server hardware, which is likely to form part of in-house budget spending.
When asked whether storage was a strategic consideration for their organisation that could lead to competitive advantage, the UK led the way, with 59% of those questioned agreeing, with 36% considering it tactical. France was next on 56%/35%, then Germany (51%/42%) and Italy (50%/43%).
When asked about their biggest storage challenge, the largest proportion said data protection (35%). Then came rapid data growth (28%), hardware costs (27%) and management of data placement (27%).