Although demand for more storage capacity is a continuing problem for SMBs, only about 37 per cent of those surveyed plan to increase spending on the technology in 2007, according to a forecast released by industry research firm, Gartner.
It asked more than 1100 respondents globally about their 2007 budget plans for storage hardware, software or services. From 26 per cent to 37 per cent planned to increase spending, depending on the category, over their 2006 budgets, Gartner analyst, Pushan Rinnen, said.
Fifty-five percent of the IT managers surveyed said the biggest storage challenge was keeping up with growing demand, estimating capacity needs would grow by an average 25 per cent in one year and by 41 per cent in two years.
Yet, little more than a third expected budgets to increase to meet that demand. "Sometimes the budget has nothing to do with your need," Rinnen said.
However, most storage budgets at least won't shrink, with 70 per cent saying storage spending will increase or remain the same next year.
SMBs can control storage growth without adding capacity by better managing their storage networks, Rinnen said. Fewer than 30 per cent of respondents plan to implement information lifecycle management (ILM) strategies, such as tiered storage. With tiered storage, business-critical information that needs to be quickly accessible can be connected by high-quality Fibre Channel technology, while less important information can be stored on less expensive Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives or stored on tape.
"The vendors have not been doing a very good job of communicating that to the market," she said. "Many SMBs have failed to understand that implementing ILM and tiered storage can help solve their problems with growing capacity."