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Survey highlights challenges for VARs implementing tiered storage

Although a new survey says VARs' customers are running out of primary storage and are dealing with a host of other problems, the survey also shows that optical technologies may present new opportunities for storage solutions

A survey of 350 IT and storage resellers shows that they're having trouble keeping up with their customers' need for storage, and that their customers are having trouble keeping up with the data they've already stored.

Of the value added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators (SIs) 79% said their end customers are running out of primary storage; 77% said their customers are dealing with long backup windows and 69% said customers are having problems with retrieval time of archived data, according to the study, conducted by PowerFile Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif.

"The finding of the report agree with what I'm seeing at end customers storage sites," said Dean Cappellazzo, co-founder of BEAR Data Systems Inc., Santa Clara, Calif. Cappellazzo also said that in recent years compliance regulations, such as the requirements pertaining to Sarbanes-Oxley financial and accounting disclosure of information as well as other regulations have impacted the organization of data leaving companies with a mission to store data for longer periods of time.

"Many more companies today have stricter guidelines on how they are going to archive data and they need to keep it somewhere where they can retrieve it," Cappellazzo said. He also said the expiration date on many data files is being extended. "It used to be three years, five years, seven years, then 10 years. Now you are hearing the data must be stored for a lifetime," Cappellazzo said.

"VARs are facing the problem of setting up an archive tiered storage for their customers every day. Customers' primary storage is getting clogged with fixed content, back-up windows are very long and there are compliance issues," said Jonathan Buckley, vice president of marketing for PowerFile, Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif. storage vendor

The survey, published last week, also estimated that 93% of VARs said technical support was their main attraction to new storage suppliers when evaluating their strengths; 91% said pricing and margins were a factor and 85% indicating that product and sales training were also important.

Backup storage is the top solution being sold by 69% of the VARs polled; 91% of end users are willing to look at technology solutions that include optical components in satisfying long-term archiving requirements.

Using optical technology, like DVD's as a part of a technology storage solution has been resisted by many corporations, but the survey indicates that might be changing.

"These optical technologies have always been plagued when applied to corporation. "Who really wants to have to manage 3,000 DVD's? And there have been questions about reliability of consumer grade technologies," Buckley said. "VARS have a new opportunity to solve a problem that requires process consultation, software and hardware technologies," Buckley added.

However, Buckley noted that his company has been improving the benefits of DVD usage, which he says is cheap and can efficiently store network data.

Other findings were that 72% of VARs said customers have had problems with hardware, software or media failure in attempting to recover data and 34% indicated that at least half of their customers' corporate data is fixed content.

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