Storage spending down, according to Purchasing Intentions survey

The 2010 Purchasing Intentions survey examines storage spending plans among European IT professionals. Find out about your peers' budgets for 2010.

Storage budgets have felt the pressure of the recession, but storage spending continues despite storage professionals' priorities changing significantly since 2008. Shared storage has become dominant in Europe's storage shops, with Fibre Channel, iSCSI and multiprotocol storage all gaining ground as direct-attached storage (DAS) becomes a thing of the past.

Server virtualisation seems to be driving this development as customers select midrange and high-end storage subsystems, which in turn has affected the fortunes of the key vendors supplying Europe's disk arrays. Meanwhile, new technologies such as data deduplication have become established in Europe, while older ones like tape backup have held firm as customers opt for ever-larger hardware capacities.

Those are some of the findings 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.

Of those surveyed, 50% are IT managers and 28% are storage architects, managers or admins. CIOs and IT directors make up 17% of total respondents, and another 5% are backup managers or admins.

This is the third such survey conducted by In this report, sent to respondents in the UK and the rest of Europe, we mostly compare 2010's findings with those of the first Purchasing Intentions survey from 2008. That survey, conducted in the final quarter of that year, drew responses from 435 storage professionals from UK businesses with an average annual revenue of £1.1 billion.

In those areas where we are unable to compare results with those from 2008, we demonstrate trends by referencing a similar, unpublished survey from November 2009.

While the total number of those questioned in this year's survey is approximately half that of 2008's survey, there was a slight increase in the number of respondents from companies with larger annual revenue. In 2008, 51% of respondents worked at companies with revenue of less than £25 million; this year, the figure is 44%.

Those working in firms with turnover between £25 million and £1 billion constituted 35% of this year's respondents, while 20% work in companies with more than £1 billion turnover.

A wide variety of industry sectors were represented, with financial services and technology the most common at approximately 14% each. Other sectors of note were business services (10%), education (8%), government (7%), manufacturing (7%), healthcare (6%) and communications (6%).

Storage spending drops

The recession seems to have hit the budgets of a significant minority of storage professionals this year. A noteworthy number (22%) saw their storage spending allocation shrink by more than 10%, showing that recessionary pressure seems to have been felt more sharply this year compared with 2009 and 2008, when that level of budget decrease was registered by 10% of users in both years.

But despite gloom for some, other respondents have seen increases in their storage budget for the past three years. This year, 11% saw their budget increase by between 5% and 10%, while 12% saw it grow by more than 10%; those results are almost exactly in line with 2008's findings.

Overall, respondents reported an average 1.2% dip in their storage budgets vs. last year.

The largest number of respondents (28%) saw no change in their storage spending plans for 2010, a figure that reflects a slight drop from previous surveys (30% in 2009 and 31% in 2008).

Disk hardware formed the largest spend category in respondents' 2010 storage budgets, forming 35.5% of the total. That figure is slightly lower than 2009 and 2008 when it was 39% in both years.

Staff was the next largest budget item (15%) followed by storage software (14%) and maintenance fees (11%) -- all of those items were within a percentage point or two of the 2009 and 2008 figures.

Over the next few weeks, we'll release more results from the Purchasing Intentions survey. Coming up next: primary storage.

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