According to a survey released today by Akara Corporation, business continuance ranks as the number one issue that will cause large enterprises to extend the storage of mission critical data beyond their walls. This survey of enterprise IT executives, where 50 percent worked at companies with revenues in excess of $500 million, revealed a number of key storage networking trends.

Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said that business continuance is "very important" in driving the extension of storage over metro and wide area networks. Likewise, the survey also found that there will be a dramatic shift toward networked storage architectures and storage transport protocols that can support cost-effective business continuance applications.

Ninety-seven percent said that Storage Area Networks (SAN) will be an "important" or "very important" storage architecture over the next five years. A SAN storage architecture, properly deployed over a metropolitan area network, can offer enterprises the added security of storing mission critical data over distance without compromising the availability of that data.

Seventy-two percent of the companies surveyed said that they plan to increase their use of Fibre Channel for storage transport. When Fibre Channel is used in a SAN, businesses can benefit from its flexibility, scalability, low latency and guaranteed transport. Akara's technology enables enterprises to extend their SANs over distance with Fibre Channel without any loss in performance and provides additional security and operational benefits through maintained visibility and control of their network.

The survey data reflects the high level of attention being given to business continuance and storage management by IT executives, who are faced with managing an exponentially increasing amount of mission critical data.

Participating in the survey were approximately ninety IT executives from the financial services, manufacturing, retail and healthcare fields. The survey was conducted during Akara's "Storage Turning Point" symposium series held in Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York during October and November of 2001.

The survey results revealed a demand in the marketplace for products that make the delivery of cost-effective business continuance applications possible and that can provide enterprises with a rapid return on investment. While the majority of those surveyed stated that capital costs are a barrier to enterprises from extending storage over the MAN/WAN, they also expressed concern with the cost of not having mission critical data secure and readily available. Gartner Group has estimated that the average cost of downtime for a typical brokerage firm to be $6.5 million per hour. As the cost of optical connectivity continues to drop and new optical networking equipment specifically designed to optimize business continuance applications over distance becomes available, enterprises are recognizing the rapid return on investment that storage extension offers./p>

"This survey not only highlights the fact that businesses feel more urgency than ever to have the systems in place to protect their mission critical data and applications," said Ed Ogonek, president and CEO of Akara, "but also shows they are looking for cost-effective solutions to extend their data centers over the metro and wide area networks. We recognized early on the desire of the enterprise to extend storage to geographically distributed data centers.

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