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Encouraging news in tough times

I get emails all day long from suppliers and every so often one of them contains something interesting. Last Friday, I received an email from Sepaton, a supplier of enterprise VTL solutions. While Sepaton has an excellent channel program, what interested me — and should interest you — about the email is that it contained results of a survey Sepaton conducted, with these key findings:

Despite the economy, nearly 75% of enterprise respondents expected their data protection budget to stay the same or increase in 2009. There are a couple of reasons for this, in my opinion. First, in tough economic times people want to protect their assets, owing to both human nature and to the fact that data protection is one of the easier expenditures to justify. Second, in many environments the current data protection infrastructure is aging and has been put on the backburner several times already.

The survey results support the second reason: 52% of those surveyed rated their data protection quality as insufficient and pointed to lack of budget as a key inhibitor. They are looking to technologies like data deduplication and disk to back-fill this gap.

While you might think that everyone already has disk-to-disk backup in place, the majority of respondents are using tape today, yet fewer than 50% expect to be using tape one year from now.

So, having a deduplication product strategy and a disk-to-disk backup conversion service in place should be very high on your priorities for the new year. The service and integration aspect of these solutions cannot be overlooked. While most of the disk-to-disk backup solutions have become much easier to implement, the system optimization and integration with backup are excellent opportunities to add value to the project.

The final key point of the survey focuses on server virtualization’s impact on the data protection process — 74% of the respondents indicated that a server virtualization project is putting a significant strain on the data protection process. Again, big potential for a channel partner to add value, not just in selecting the right destination backup hardware to address the problem but also in helping customers with overall data protection of the virtualized environment.

The bottom line is to make sure you keep your head in the game. As I have said before, turn off the 24-hour news station — it’s depressing anyway — and get out there and find customers with these problems.

George Crump is president and founder of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation’s largest storage integrators. 

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