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IT priorities 2022: Ransomware and cloud drive storage and backup

The pandemic and the move to the cloud has driven cloud storage as a key priority

Ransomware and the cloud are the big stories that impact backup and storage this year. But at the same time, the challenge of unstructured data has also emerged as a priority, while on-premise disk storage – SAN and NAS – also retains importance.

Those are some key findings in TechTarget’s 2022 IT priorities survey, which questioned around 850 IT decision-makers across Europe, of which 246 were in the UK and Ireland.

Cloud storage was ranked by respondents at number five among all IT projects, and was the highest non-security-related deployment priority for those questioned.

Overall, IT budgets are healthy, with very few (7%) expecting a decrease in available spend, while 51% expect the same amount or more (42%) for procurement in 2022.

During a year in which a mix of the pandemic, remote working and ransomware have been among the key impacts, security concerns top many IT department agendas, along with digital and hybrid work transformations and consequent increased use of the cloud. Automation, edge technologies with an impact on data, such as the internet of things, and increased reliance on as-a-service approaches are also very evident.

When asked specifically about storage deployment plans for the next 12 months, by far the largest proportion (42%) put cloud storage top of their list. The next-closest storage technology plans are in data management, which includes dealing with unstructured data, and that was indicated by 22% of those asked.

SAN and NAS storage were the next most prominent in terms of storage deployment plans – 20% and 17% respectively – with flash storage just behind those on 16%, which indicates on-premise storage is certainly not going away. Further down the list, 10% said they planned to deploy NVMe (ie, flash) storage in the next 12 months, too.

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Just behind those, and also on-premise, were hyper-converged infrastructure (13%), object storage (11%) and software-defined storage (10%).

Showing the emergence of consumption models of buying storage, around one-eighth of those questioned (12%) said they had plans to use on-premise hardware, but procured on an as-a-service basis from a “traditional” storage supplier.

Computational storage – which puts processing power closer to bulk storage capacity to lower input/output volume – was newly-prominent and indicated as set to be deployed by 15% of those questioned.

Backup and data protection look to have been given heightened prominence by the huge rise in ransomware attacks this year.  When the survey asked what data protection technologies their organisation planned to deploy this year, the most common answer was ransomware protection (35%).  That’s quite a jump from the previous two years, in which 22% and 21% said ransomware protection was a priority for the coming 12 months. But with the epidemic of ransomware this year that should be no great surprise.

While the exact nature of that protection isn’t specified in the question, common methods of tackling a ransomware infection centre on being able to roll back to a previous clean state, so snapshots and backups are keyAlso important are technologies and practices around disaster recovery and business continuity, but of course these are also widely dictated by law and regulation as well as best practice.

Backup is also a high priority, with 29% declaring VM backup a key project for the forthcoming year – the third highest data protection priority – and 23% intending to deploy backup hardware or software.  Backup for containers is on the agenda for 15% of those questioned, which fits with the broader priority in which 25% of those questioned said container management is a deployment plan for the coming year.

Also of note is that data archiving is a key 2022 priority for more than a quarter of respondents (28%) while tape projects are in the plans of 12% of those asked.

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