Survey: Most firms have no big data plans

A majority high-level IT managers and data storage professionals have no plans to deploy big data analytics, according to a new data storage survey by market research firm TheInfoPro.

Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated they will not be deploying big data analytics applications even beyond 2013, the survey of 255 IT professionals found. Half of those surveyed were data storage professionals at the analyst level; the other half comprised IT managers, vice presidents and CIOs.

Survey respondents with no plans to roll out Hadoop or other big data analytics software said doing so requires a specific business case, and in most instances they didn't see a need for it, according to Marco Coulter, managing director of TheInfoPro's Cloud Computing Practice.

Plans to implement big data analytics
"For example, IT workers went around to their various business units to ask if anyone would like them to deploy a big data application, such as Hadoop, and they couldn't find any takers," Coulter said. "If you can't find the business case or the application, then it just becomes a technology looking for something to do."

Coulter said those companies rolling out big data analytics tend to be in the financial services and healthcare arena, where great amounts of data can be boiled down to reveal trends and best practices.

TheInfoPro conducts an annual Technology Heat Index Survey, asking hundreds of IT professionals dozens of questions about their technology plans. The most recent survey was conducted between August 2011 and this past April.

Not surprisingly, survey respondents again chose server virtualization as the leading driver of capacity growth, and Fibre Channel SANs were the predominant targets of enterprise data storage. Sixty-seven percent of respondents indicated they have between 80% and 100% of production servers connected to a Fibre Channel SAN.

Drivers of capacity growth
Fibre Channel hard drives, however, took a big hit in the last year, as SAS, solid-state drives (SSDs) and SATA drives for the first time became dominant in enterprise use.

Asked what new disk storage purchases they made in 2011, 48% said Fibre Channel drives, 31% indicated SATA drives, 19% SAS and 2% SSD drives. But, when asked about what drives would make up the greatest capacity growth in their enterprise this year, 41% indicated SAS; 35%, SSD; 23%, SATA; and 11% stated Fibre Channel.

Capacity purchased in 2011 by drive type
The survey found that the number of companies planning to deploy SSD technology leaped from 7% last year to 37% this year.

"It was a very big jump, as was the dip in the number of people who had no plans to use SSDs. That dropped from 42% to 23%," Coulter said.

Hybrid arrays and SSDs
Hybrid arrays, using SSDs alongside rotating disks, approached majority use in enterprise datacenters, while new players abound for all solid-state arrays and in server SSDs. EMC far outpaced competitors as the No. 1 vendor for solid state in hybrid arrays. EMC was followed by NetApp, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), IBM, HP, Oracle, and Dell.