Backup and disaster recovery purchasing plans: European storage pros buying bigger tape libraries

Read about backup and disaster recovery purchase plan trends among European storage buyers, including tape library size; favoured vendors; and adoption rates of data deduplication, continuous data protection and cloud backup.

In backup and disaster recovery, the use of tape is holding steady, with users now buying bigger tape libraries than two years ago. Data deduplication has also put down significant roots among readers, while spending on disaster recovery and compliance has increased significantly. The vendor popularity stakes have also seen some providers slip.

Those are some of the key findings in the fourth section of this year's Purchasing Intentions survey, carried out in the second quarter of 2010 among 215 storage professionals representing businesses with an average annual revenue of £1.3 billion.

In this section of the 2010 survey results we look at backup and disaster recovery purchasing and compare respondents' answers with previous surveys in 2008 and 2009.

This year, 37% of respondents expect their use of tape as a backup format to stay the same as in 2009, while 34% expect it to decrease. A quarter expect their use of tape to increase, but that figure is not significantly different from the one reported in 2008.

The majority of those surveyed (56%) expect to buy no new tape libraries this year, while 39% are likely to buy between one and 10. That reflects a small decrease in tape library purchases since 2008, when 52% had no plans to buy.

The big change in tape library sizes is in terms of the number of slots. Libraries with fewer than 20 slots were the choice of 46% who bought or expect to buy tape libraries this year. That figure is down quite a lot from the 71% reported in 2008. Meanwhile, purchases of tape libraries with a greater number of slots have increased: 34% will buy between 20 and 100 slots vs. 20% in 2008. The number of those surveyed buying libraries with more than 100 slots has risen from 10% to 20% during the same period.

When asked which tape vendor they had or intended to purchase from this year, 32% of respondents kept HP in the top spot (down slightly from 35% in 2008) followed by IBM with 25% (up from 17.5%). Dell, however, suffered -- dropping from its 21.5% second-place finish in 2008 to only a 14% share and a third-place finish this year. Sun/StorageTek maintained its 10% portion, but now ranks fourth, replacing Sony, which dropped like a stone from 12% in 2008 to 3% this year and eighth place. The biggest loser was Quantum, cited by 18% of those surveyed in 2008 but now registering only 5% of user deployments (equal to Overland).

As with disk systems, the reasons for choosing tape vendors changed. Technical support is now No. 1, with 25% of respondents reporting that as the key factor in their purchases. Being a supplier of other technology to the company -- ranked the highest in 2008 with 28.5% -- garnered 18% of responses.

Data deduplication puts down roots

Not much has changed in disk-based backup except for the area of data deduplication, which has seen a huge rise in use. The figures for tape as an ultimate backup target, as well as for continuous data protection, are little changed in two years.

Eighteen percent of respondents report data deduplication deployments in 2010, a significant rise from the 4% noted in 2008.

Of those respondents who use disk-based backup, disk configured as a file system is the most common target type, with 44% doing things that way and no real change from 2008. Also not significantly different is the 20% of respondents using continuous data protection (CDP).

Virtual tape libraries show a small rise in use (16% of those questioned), while disk using content-addressable or WORM storage is in use by 10% of respondents.

Only 31% of those surveyed said they would ultimately transfer all data to tape -- up slightly versus 2008's figure of 28%; 37% would do transfer some data and 31% would not transfer any data to tape -- also 28% in 2008 (percentages equal less than 100% due to rounding).

Forty-two percent of respondents said their spending on disk-to-disk backup will remain the same in 2010, while 36% said it will increase and 13% said it will decrease.

When asked about their likely plans for spending on CDP products, 40% had no plans and 17% intend to increase spending. That result reflects a small decrease in popularity in CDP since 2008.

HP retains the top spot as the most popular vendor for disk-based backup products in the 2010 survey with 21% of respondents using the firm's equipment, up from 15.5% in 2008. Symantec/Revivio was next at 17% (up from 13%), IBM/Diligent took 11% of the pie, NetApp and Dell level-pegged at 9% each, and EMC/Data Domain and EMC/Avamar registered 6%.

Small increase in outsourced backup take-up

Outsourced, or cloud, backup has a small but significant level of take-up for this relatively new product area, with 26% using such a service. Having said that, the use of outsourced/cloud backup among respondents has increased only a small amount since 2008, when 20% reported using it. Of those who do use such services in 2010, email (21%) and databases applications (17%) were the most popular areas for outsourcing.

Backup software spending expected to rise

When it comes to backup software, far fewer respondents expect their spending on backup software products to remain static. And while not significantly more of those surveyed expect to spend more, a greater number do not seem to expect to reduce their backup software costs.

Forty-five percent expect their backup software spending to remain the same in 2010 (down from 61% in 2008), 29% of those questioned expect spending to increase (29%) and another 26% expect spending to decrease (versus 11% in 2008).

Symantec is the clear leader in the vendor stakes, with 49% either purchasing or intending to purchase backup products from that vendor (up from 38% in the 2008 survey). IBM/Tivoli racked up 9% of respondents -- down from 15% in 2008 -- while Acronis, CA and HP each registered 8% of installs. CommVault and Veeam had 6% each.

Leading the list of reasons as to why respondents choose their backup software vendor is product features and functions (45% of responses). Technical support and service (21%), being the market leader and price were next in line as key buying criteria in 2010.

Backing up virtual servers is painful

For the first time in the survey's history, we asked about backup for virtual servers.

The most popular method is to use a traditional backup product (35%). VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) is used by 13% of respondents, while the same percentage of those surveyed use a virtual server-specific backup product such as Quest vRanger, PHD Virtual esXpress or Veeam Backup & Replication. CDP is the data protection method of choice for 10% of users, while 8% back up the entire physical server at the hypervisor level.

A quarter of users view virtual server backup as a complicated process, while 22.5% back up too much with too many full backups. The expense involved and having to buy additional product licences is a gripe of 17.5% of those surveyed, while 15% complain that it is difficult to access individual files for restore. Ten percent of respondents said they require far more disk capacity for backups than they did in a physical server environment.

Disaster recovery (DR) becomes more pressing . . .

Disaster recovery appears to have become a more pressing task over the past two years, with remote replication taking over from off-site tape as the most favoured method of achieving the data transport necessary for DR.

Disaster recovery spending will be maintained at existing levels by 47% of respondents, while 27% will increase their DR spending in 2010. The relative magnitude of those figures has swapped places since 2008, when they were 32% and 41%, respectively.

In 2010 and 2008, roughly 20% of those surveyed either had no DR spending plans or expected the investment to decrease.

The most common storage-related expenditure for DR storage in 2010 is remote replication (43%), which has moved up from being the second-choice option in 2008 (29.5%). Off-site tape, which had been the No. 1 choice in 2008, maintained its 31% response rate. Off-site vaulting is the choice of 18% of respondents.

. . . as does compliance

In 2010, more people are spending money on products to facilitate data compliance.

When asked about spending plans for backup or archive products related to data compliance, 25% are increasing their spending versus 15% in 2008. Thirty-five percent of respondents said their budgets will remain the same as in 2009, while 8% said it would decrease (5% in 2008). The percentage of those with no plans in this area has decreased to 24% (versus 33% in 2008).

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