Despite the global economic downturn it appears the US storage sector will continue to remain as busy as ever.

The need to store increasing volumes of digital files – and to provide continuous access to them – seems to be keeping the industry buzzing with activity, writes Vanitha Vaidialingam for

Most organizations are poor editors of digital information.

The tendency is to retain everything and add to storage rather than spend the time and effort in weeding out and disposing of digital information that is irrelevant or redundant.

Moreover, finding time and human resources for such second tier jobs is difficult.

There is also the latent conviction that the new US federal court rules and other state and national regulations may require a business to produce the data at some future date.

So, enterprises are more likely to retain the data for legal reasons than they were in the past.

Benjamin Woo, of IDC Storage, takes an optimistic view of the outlook for the storage industry.

"Despite the downturn in the macroeconomic conditions, our consensus is that in the short to medium-term, storage is the most resistant to macroeconomic changes," he said.

"While there is no doubt that there will be some form of pull-back on storage investment, many of the large financial institutions, especially JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America – but also Wells Fargo and Barclays – will need to commit, or in the case of Chase, maintain, substantial IT and storage investment in the next six to 12 months, for integration of their acquired banks."

Woo said that, while most companies will go into a capital conservation mode in the long term, they too must consider subscription storage models that are offered by online storage providers.

The indications are that the slowing down of the economy will have its impact on the storage market initially but it will rally over time.

The optimistic assessment in the industry is that IT organizations will move from building infrastructure to modifying infrastructure and efficiency improvement.

This, in turn, will revitalize the storage market.

Moreover, as companies struggle to survive, the cross currents of legal actions will tend to increase, and storage products that cater to legal discovery will drive the growth in the storage market.

Greg Schulz, founder and Senior analyst of the StorageIO Group, said the focus will be on storage technologies "that can do more in a smaller footprint – that footprint being power, cooling, floor-space, and time in a given density.

"This means servers [will be needed] that can do more work in a smaller space, storage for active data that can do more IOPS or bandwidth or files or e-mails or videos streamed per watt in a given footprint.

"Or, for inactive and idle data, more capacity in a given footprint and cost point [will be desirable]."

What will really happen, will be decided in the womb of time.

However, there appears to be a general conviction that the storage industry’s optimism is not misplaced.

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