Storage isn't the hottest topic in tech. But with rise of big data and the digitization of practically everything, finding a way to manage the huge influx of data should be a top priority on every IT manager's list.

To better understand which storage technologies they're investing in, the major challenges they face, and who's making the storage decisions, Tech Pro Research surveyed over 125 business professionals about their organization's approach to data storage.

The results, available in the full report, Data storage: Preferred vendors, demands, challenges, were very enlightening. Topics covered include:

  • Storage allocation within IT budget
  • Increases in storage budget
  • Technologies used to manage storage
  • Major storage challenges
  • Impact of big data on storage resources
  • Public and private cloud use
  • Preferred vendors
  • Solid state storage
  • Drivers for storage resource optimization/expansion

Watch Tech Pro Research Managing Editor Bill Detwiler discuss key points of the Data storage: Preferred vendors, demands, challenges.

Direct control desired

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 Image: Tech Pro Research

For example, despite the proliferation of cloud-based storage solutions, the vast majority of respondents prefer to have direct control over their data and store it in-house.

Nearly seven of 10 survey respondents opt for local storage. Network attached storage is used by 61%, while storage area networks, a more centralized approach, but still an one that keeps data inside the enterprise, is used by 63%.

And despite industry prognosticators having talked about its demise for years, tape is still a part of many company's storage strategy.

Trailing these on-premise solutions (and by a wide margin) are the cloud-based options.

Concerns over governance and data management control, liability for security breaches, and concerns about transfer speeds, make many organizations reluctant to outsource their storage to a third-party cloud provider, especially if that provider then leases its data center space from a second third party.

Now over time, if cloud-based providers can address these concerns, the use of cloud as an ancillary data storage outlet for enterprises is likely to grow -- but a major shift of data storage from the data center to the cloud is not immediately likely.

Storage pain points

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 Image: Tech Pro Research

When asked about the storage challenges they face in the data center, an overwhelming number of respondents picked cost.

While surging capacity is the major driver of storage needs, as acknowledged by 52% of respondents, the real pain point, since storage is often viewed as a commodity, is having enough money to simply buy more storage when you need it.

Yet this way of thinking is slowing changing. And as the mixing of new storage technologies with legacy systems adds complexity to the data center, companies are looking for ways to better manage their storage needs not just throw money at them.

Authorizing the storage spend

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 Image: Tech Pro Research

So, who's making these decisions. Well when it comes to researching new technologies and making the technical recommendations for storage purchases, half of the work is done by an individual focused on storage.

But as one might expect, when it comes to actually authorizing storage spends, a C-level executive makes the final decision in nearly 75% of cases.

This illustrates the hands-on, tactical perception of storage professionals that dominates organizations. Companies trust storage professionals and managers to make great recommendations, but they don't see them as strategic managers, nor have they given them purchase authority.

These are just a few of the findings outlined in the full storage report, which includes information on how storage growth is being managed, drill downs on the use a public and private cloud vendors, the effect of new storage technologies on the data center, and more.

You can download the full report, Data storage: Preferred vendors, demands, challenges, to find out more.