Business goes mad for storage
Gimme server virtualisation
On the whole, surveys do not often provide "scientific data" but sometimes they can throw up some interesting observations on differing trends and how ready the world is to follow up on new developments. With this in mind, it is worthwhile taking a look at the results of a small survey performed by Nemertes Research at the Network World 2005 IT Roadmap Tech Tour conference, where attendees were quizzed on the state of their storage, virtualisation and open source deployments.
The survey was, by Nemertes' own admission, by no means statistically balanced, but the results it threw up are fascinating. When it comes to network storage, almost half of those surveyed (some 48 per cent) stated that their organisations have full production deployments of storage area networks (SAN) and / or networked attached storage (NAS). These figures are not wholly out of line with others generated over the last year or two, but it should be recognised that the organisations in this survey averaged some 18 Terabytes of storage each, while the median figure was found to be five Terabytes. This gives some indication that the survey respondents represented fairly large organisations.
The survey also found that the demand for storage resources continues to grow at an accelerated rate. Nearly three-quarters of respondents expect storage to grow at between 10 and 50 per cent over the next twelve months.
Moving away from storage into server virtualisation, 37 per cent of respondents confirmed that tools such as VMware are in use today. This result confirms how rapidly the virtual server and virtual PC capabilities are being deployed to increase the availability of systems and to maximise the utilisation of server systems.
There is every reason to expect the number of organisations deploying virtualisation solutions across their entire server platforms to continue to grow very strongly over the next year or two. It is, in my opinion, clear that Server Virtualisation is becoming a defacto way of working.
The Nemertes survey also questioned the readiness of organisations to deploy open source solutions. Nearly two-thirds of those questioned replied that they were either evaluating or prototyping open source projects. A limited number have started to use open source solutions in some limited production mode. Less than one respondent in ten admitted to having open source systems in full production mode today.
The low figure for "full production mode" open source systems may indicate a lack of awareness of the full take-up of such solutions within organisations, and may instead reflect "official" company policies. However, those surveyed admitted to being interested in open source in all facets of business, including at a business application level, showing just how much attention open source continues to attract.
A large number of respondents recounted problems in acquiring sufficient numbers of experienced staff with Linux and Open Source skills to keep projects moving ahead on schedule. One respondent, the CTO of a very large organisation, admitted stopping an open source deployment simply through a lack of suitably skilled staff being available.
It is clear that Linux and Open Source are under consideration in organisations of almost all sizes. But it is equally clear that whilst organisations are keen to benefit from open source solutions, they also appear to be unwilling to invest in training and career development to support such projects. If this is so, it will not be the first time that a short-sighted approach to staff development will cause IT and Business in general to not reap the maximum benefits possible.