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The need for data storage education

September 27th, 2005

A recent report published by IDC concerning the issue of European enterprises mastering data protection, found that 25% of the respondents did not have a disaster recovery plan in place. One of the big complaints for defending the absence of a disaster recovery strategy was that there was a lack of data storage technology available on the market.

The report quite rightly concluded that it is not a lack of available technology that is responsible for those respondents not having a disaster recovery plan in place, but that in fact the IT industry hasn’t informed the market on the solutions available. The good news is that this lack of knowledge on the part of end-users presents a big opportunity to resellers to educate the luggards and reap the rewards.

With compliance and Sarbanes Oxley firmly lodged in the conciousness of IT Managers throughout the UK and Meta Group reporting that estimated demand for storage products has risen steadily during the past 12 to 18 months, the market is obviously growing. Decision-makers need to be informed of the solutions and technology available and then make a decision to buy.

With so many vendors offering a huge range of storage options, the technology available can be confusing – not just to end-users, but also to resellers.

There needs to be a simple solution offered by vendors to their channel partners that saves them money by minimising the time needed for configuration and pricing, while ensuring complete accuracy in their proposals for customers. This would aleviate much of the time and confusion that both channel-partners and end-users experience when making a decision on which solution to plum for.

Cost can still be a big issue in holding back the market. In the case of SAN’s, this is a big factor. Two of the main reasons for companies deciding not to implement SANs were the cost of the hardware and the cost of implementation. The main reason, however, was the lack of a perceived business benefit for installing a SAN, an indication that despite the growth in demand for storage, the opportunity-cost is not being entirely explained, or entirely understood.

Resellers have an opportunity to educate customers on the benefits and cost savings possible with using network storage solutions. Whether SAN, NAS or a combination or both, the ability to share information and storage resources such as tape libraries and disk arrays bring savings by introducing speed, removing data redundancy and eliminating islands of unused storage

The best solution is one that is easily implemented and managed; and balances cost/performance objectives with a reasonable degree of protection for critical data. For resellers, this provides an opportunity to review customer storage requirements and recommend optimisation strategies.

Storage needs are always on the increase, and growing concerns over business continuity make high-speed network storage, storage management and backup, recover and archive increasingly important. Companies are now reviewing capital expenditure, and the focus must be placed upon making better use of existing systems, and optimising performance.

As increasingly sophisticated systems become available, resellers selling storage solutions will need to focus more attention on business requirements and the solutions available. Then not only will the market be informed, they will also be buying.

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