IT managers are being asked to store 50-70 per cent more data than last year, but with little or no increase in resources, according to analysts and vendors.
Although hardware costs are falling by around 20 per cent each year, a data-hungry combination of more applications, and demands for more comprehensive data retention, is pushing up costs, delegates attending Storage Networking World in Cannes were warned.
"There are three rules to storage management: no management; brute force; and, when all else fails, buy some software," John McArthur, group vice president at IDC, told delegates. "Where we are today is that people are buying some software."
Vendors at the show were more optimistic, however, promising an order of magnitude increase in the amount of data one storage administrator could manage by 2005.
Several are looking at taking hierarchical storage management one step further with Information Lifecycle Management, where businesses set policies to define the importance of data in order to faster migrate it to lower-cost storage media and eventually deletion.
But some users felt that the wares presented to them were not the finished articles.
"There are no efficient storage management systems," declared Charles Inches, chief information officer at Swiss bank Corner, and chairman of the end users' advisory board for the Storage Networking Industry Association Europe (SNIAE).
"That is why interoperability and the Storage Management Initiative [SMI] standard [formerly called Bluefin] is so important."
Inches stressed that users examining software management tools need to battle for SMI compatibility if they want to adopt a multi-vendor approach to storage.
The SNIAE's "ambitious" roadmap to have total SMI interoperability by the end of 2005 required users to "fight" for SMI compliance, he said.
With the emphasis on using existing resources, including employing a mixed media approach to backing up data with only the most critical data kept on enterprise disk, the show saw two deals struck for management tools.
Hewlett Packard (HP) signed an OEM agreement for Legato's EmailXtender 4.4 email and instant messaging archiving product and Hitachi Data Systems signed a reselling agreement with Silicon Valley start-up InterSAN for its Pathline software, a collection of tools to manage storage area network infrastructure.
Meanwhile, IBM announced that it would release its first two virtualisation products, TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller and SAN Integration Server, on 25 July.
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