Increasing levels of data volume and complexity will see storage requirements within organisations grow, according to a recent IDC study.
The storage solutions market in Australia and New Zealand was valued at $1.804 billion in 2001 but IDC is forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 6.2 per cent, which would see it reach $2.433 billion by 2006.
IDC defines storage solutions as hardware, software and services, with hardware accounting for 60 per cent of the market, services contributing 30 per cent and software the remaining 10 per cent of total storage solutions spend.
It believes declining margins in storage hardware, as well as customer demand for complete storage solutions, will see vendors shift their emphasis to incorporate software and services when delivering products to market.
"The real value of the storage resource is expected to be gained from a network storage infrastructure in which integrated storage software enables users to organise and access the information contained in the storage resource," said Graham Penn, IDC director of storage research, Asia-Pacific.
"To achieve this goal, IDC expects there to be strong demand for professional services associated with the design, implementation and review of storage network solutions.
"The nature of the storage environment has changed radically in recent years. With the growth of data within many organisations accelerating, the infrastructure implications and operating costs of the growth in storage are becoming apparent.
"In virtually every organisation it is becoming more evident that data is a key corporate asset. Maintaining its availability, integrity and security is now a critical business issue and this realisation is resulting in strong growth in demand for storage solutions," added Penn.
But organisations can go a long way towards solving their own storage headaches by introducing good housekeeping practices.
"If you have a shed at home and keep throwing unwanted bikes, gardening equipment and furniture into it, this will pile up until you can no longer get in. Every once in a while you need to have a spring-clean," said Philip Jackson, divisional manager of Westan Storage Division.
"Companies need to manage their data much more cleverly and get rid of redundant material. The alternative is more discs, more tapes, bigger libraries, bigger pipes and more managers running around handling it," he said.
"We need to start putting programs in place to translate business needs into IT requirements. Companies can put together simple strategies, which could be as easy as making a list of things done each day, that can be brought together into a policy document. This will clarify ideas and create processes that can be followed when the people who put them in place are not there."