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Storage purchasing intention survey: Tape for backup still wanes

In the fall 2011 results of Storage magazine’s Purchasing Intentions survey, see how IT professionals planned on using their budgets in the areas of tape backup and more.

While the importance of tape in the backup realm has been declining for years, big companies appear more reticent to give it up compared with small and midsized ones. We found evidence of this in the fall 2011 results of Storage magazine’s exclusive storage Purchasing Intentions survey, in which almost 700 IT professionals were surveyed.

About 20% of survey respondents from small (one to 999 employees) and medium-sized (1,000 to 4,999 employees) businesses who took the survey expected their use of tape backup to increase compared with 2010, while about 38% of large companies (5,000 to 10,000 employees) expected their use of tape backup to increase. The overall average was 24.5%.

These figures are in keeping with the fall 2010 Purchasing Intentions survey, which showed that an average of 22% of respondents expected their use of tape backup to increase. 

Conversely, an average of 35% of fall 2011 respondents were planning to cut tape use and an average of 38% were planning to make no change to their use of tape backup. Past surveys have made clear that although the use of tape for backup continues to decrease, the decline has been slow.

More on backup purchasing intentions

Backup trends in the fall 2012 storage Purchasing Intentions survey

Disk backup

When it comes to disk-based backup, only 22% of respondents reported that they were not using it at all. Among those who were, the most popular types were disk cache (45% of respondents) and deduplication appliances (29%). Notably, a sizable portion of two of the groups (47.5% of the medium-sized group and 38.5% of large-business respondents) reported that they planned to increase their data deduplication spending.

Cloud backup

It appears as if IT professionals' use of cloud backup has taken a bit of a backward step. About 72% percent of 2011’s respondents said they weren’t using cloud backup services, with “not comfortable sending our company’s data into a public cloud” as the most cited reason for the decision, chosen by 34% of those respondents. This compares with fall 2010’s figures, in which about 66% of respondents reported that they don’t use cloud backup for any of their applications. Among 2011 respondents, small companies showed greater hesitance, with the majority (54.5%) of those respondents reporting that their 2011 cloud backup spending would stay the same, while a majority of medium-sized and large companies (54.5% and 66.5%, respectively) said that they would increase their spending for cloud backup services.

Backup software

The leading backup software vendor for small and medium-sized shops was Symantec/Veritas, with 39.5% of the former and 29% of the latter claiming to use the vendor’s software. Enterprise companies’ primary vendor of choice for backup software was IBM/Tivoli (44.5%), although Symantec/Veritas was second with 31.5%. IBM’s dominance among big companies makes sense, given its legacy in mainframe storage and established presence among large IT customers.

Virtual server backup

In the arena of virtual server backup, the method most used is the traditional backup application, with an average of about 36% of those surveyed responding that they use this method above others, such as VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB), backup applications’ VM options or CDP. In the fall 2010 survey, respondents appeared to be moving away from traditional backup of virtual servers (in 2009, about 45% of respondents were using traditional backup for virtual servers, while in 2010, the number dropped to about 34%), but this year’s results show that the figures have held steady from last year, at 35%. While about two-thirds of 2011 respondents had complaints (such as “backing up too much,” “complicated” and issues with “file access”) about virtual server backup when asked to name their biggest problem, nearly a third said they had “no problems.

Disaster recovery

In the area of disaster recovery spending, small companies appear to be lagging behind the bigger guys. While about 43% of small-company respondents reported that they expected no change in their disaster recovery spending (while only about 34% report plans to increase it), a similar percentage of midsized and large-company respondents said they actually expected to increase their DR spending (45% and 43%, respectively). This is because smaller companies have smaller budgets and so typically can’t afford to increase their spending on DR—while midsize and larger companies, with their larger budgets, can. And smaller companies haven’t had the time or the expertise that larger companies have to determine how important their data, and their associated apps, are. This was a bit different from the fall of 2010, when fewer users (an average of 36% of all respondents) were planning to increase their DR spending.

The three groups also differed in their spending plans for replication and remote mirroring; while the largest chunk of respondents from the small-organizations category (38%) expected no change in their spending on this area, about half of those from medium-size and large shops expected their spending in this arena to increase. All three groups, however, were similar in terms of their most important DR expenditure for 2011, with around half of respondents from each group prioritizing remote copy over other DR-related purchases (48% of small companies, 50% of medium-sized companies and 58% of large companies).

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