Storage market shows signs of bouncing back

IDC data about the Q4 2009 storage market indicates that the market may be warming up. Andy Moon highlights three affordable options for SMBs.

After a mostly dismal 2009 that saw storage software sales dip and hardware sales plummet, the storage market may be warming up again, with the fourth quarter of 2009 experiencing 0.5% growth over the same quarter in 2008. The global recession took its toll on the technology market as a whole, but these latest numbers seem to indicate that the worst may be in the rearview mirror. Assuming this is the case, the storage market is poised to be a large player in the overall technology market, as storage needs grow every year.

These days, there is a lot more to storage than simply adding disks to a cabinet. There are many options that need to be sorted out before it is time to cut a check for new hardware and software, and some of these options are becoming affordable enough for even smaller businesses. Here's an overview of three of these options:

Multi-tiered storage

Multi-tiered storage, for example, has traditionally been the environment that large businesses, data centers, and cloud computing vendors have maintained. Multi-tiering allows these large data centers to have critical data on a storage medium that responds extremely quickly, while data that is less critical or used less resides on lower tiers with slower, and cheaper, hardware.

Data deduplication

Data deduplication is another technology widely used with data backup that is now being deployed for data storage. This technology takes chunks of data and compares it to the other data being stored. If the data sets are identical, the system deletes one set and replaces it with a pointer to the other so the data is available but is only taking up storage space once. This is an especially useful feature in virtual environments, where the operating system across machines could be very close to identical and would only chew up the storage requirements for slightly more than a single installation. (Related reading: Seven things to consider when evaluating data deduplication solutions.)

Storage virtualization

Storage virtualization is another area where technology improvements are overcoming the basic desire to just throw more disks at a storage problem. Storage virtualization allows the storage itself to be virtualized and carved out to allow usage by multiple servers in a farm. Virtualizing storage gives an administrator the ability to give the servers the storage they need, while maintaining all of the storage in a pool that makes for much higher utilization of the physical storage media than is achieved when using server-attached storage.

Storage investments for 2010

It seems that the brakes that have been applied to IT budgets have eased off a bit as we move into 2010. Given that data growth doesn't seem to slow down even during a recession, all of us have needs in this area.

What technologies is your organization considering for 2010? Let us know in the discussion.

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