A survey of 254 IT professionals on their organization’s storage strategy revealed that for most organizations, the majority of data stored is actually inactive or passive (defined as being untouched in the past 60 days). In fact, 56 percent said that more than half their data is inactive, and a surprising 22 percent estimated their inactive data accounted for more than three-quarters of all their data.
Figure 1 Percentage of data that is inactive (unused 60 days or more)
Having identified how much data is inactive, the study found that 53 percent of organizations use storage area networks (SANs) to store inactive data and 51 percent on network-attached storage (NAS) – see Figure 2. The study indicates that organizations are actually less likely to use second- or third-tier storage for inactive data. Eighty-one percent of organizations who use SANs or NAS devices keep inactive data on them. Only 68 percent of those who use tapes do so for inactive data, and a mere 38 percent of public cloud storage users keep inactive data there.
Figure 2 Where data is stored
Considering the low frequency at which inactive data is accessed, it would make budgetary sense to store such data on more affordable storage systems, such as tapes or public cloud. The study also revealed that organizations that store inactive data exclusively on SANs or NAS devices spend significantly more on storage as a proportion of their overall IT budget than those who use a mix of media or who do not store data on their SANs or NAS at all.
Figure 3 shows that only 38 percent of exclusive SAN/NAS users claim that storage is less than a tenth of their overall IT expenditure, a sharp contrast to the nearly half (48 percent) of mixed media respondents and a 15 point difference from those who do not rely on SANs and NAS for inactive data at all (53 percent).
Figure 3 Percentage of IT budget spent on storage
This puts into question IT’s understanding of the concept of storage tier and data lifecycle management (DLM). Both DLM and storage tiering have been around for many years and were brought about by the pressures placed on to increase IT resource utilization.
It is interesting to discover that organizations that spend less than 10 percent of their IT budget on storage nearly two-thirds of the organizations using the public cloud for their inactive data are spending
less than a tenth of their overall IT budget on storage, while only 42 percent of non-cloud users can claim the same.
According to Nicos Vekiarides, CEO of TwinStrata, the survey brings to light an unspoken truth that sompanies waste money storing their least important data on their most expensive systems. “Today’s IT teams struggle under the weight of traditional storage tactics, leading to wasted budget and storage management inefficiencies. By intelligently incorporating cloud storage into its strategy, an organization can redeploy both budget and staff resources to higher-value initiatives.”
The full report and accompanying infographic can be downloaded at: www.twinstrata.com/storage-survey-2014.