September 23, 2011 – Virtualization is leading the discussion on future storage investments, though not entirely at the risk of solid-state disk development, according to a new survey backed by IBM.

The survey, conducted by Zogby International on behalf of IBM, queried 250 U.S. IT executives in August 2011 about their near-term plans for data storage.

More data storage investments are going the way of deployment, with 48 percent of respondents increasing virtualization dedications and 26 percent putting information in some type of cloud. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed stated they already use or are planning a switch to more cloud storage in the future.

Nearly one-quarter of IT executives pointed to analytics as the source of their data storage investments, according to the survey.

Bruch Hillsberg, IBM director of storage systems, said in a news release on the survey that these shifts – especially around virtualization and analytics – are “changing the composition and design of storage systems.”

"Evolving current storage technologies alone would not answer customers' diverse and rising data storage demands,” Hillsberg said.

Still, the survey found plenty of interest with IT investments in solid-state disk (SSD) technology. Flash memory and SSD investment will increase for 24 percent of respondents, with 43 percent of IT decision makers sticking with or adding on SSD storage hardware. Of those involved or planning for SSD investments, 75 percent cited quicker data delivery as the reason. However, 71 percent of IT executives not interested in SSD and flash memory said cost was the main reason.

In other findings, 38 percent of IT officers stated their enterprise storage needs are growing from efforts to find more business value in data, while 29 percent noted that their storage investments were tied to government compliance and regulation. Overall, 43 percent of respondents expressed concern about managing big data with their storage ventures.

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