Virtualised storage is about to become a major IT battleground, according to the latest report from IDC.
The research firm said that advances in the field, coupled with increased demands from enterprises generating more digital content than ever, will have a dramatic effect on the market.
Storage virtualisation is the process of making several separate storage devices function as a single unit.
Dozens of devices could be stored in a remote location or scattered throughout an office, but would all appear to users and their systems as a single network storage device.
The process has advantages in that it makes scaling storage much easier, allowing companies to add, remove and replace storage devices with less work.
It also simplifies storing and retrieving data for users, requiring them to navigate one large network storage device rather than several smaller ones.
According to the report, 34 percent of those surveyed were already using virtualised storage, and 49 percent were considering doing so.
"Storage virtualisation has come of age," said Laura DuBois, research director for storage software at IDC. "It is no longer a nascent market with limited user deployments and immature technology."
One reason for the surge in demand and development is the increase in the amount of raw data that businesses are generating.
"Given current data-generation trends, file virtualisation will emerge as an even more critical market for storage solutions providers," said Richard Villars, IDC's vice president of storage systems.
Archives of content such as emails and video files are driving enterprises to pursue systems capable of storing much more data, thereby playing to the strengths of virtualised storage systems.
Earlier this week, IDC reported a similar boom in demand for disk storage systems, indicating that as businesses continue to produce larger amounts of data, the market for storage as a whole should remain strong.
IDC predicts virtual storage bonanza
By Shaun Nichols on Dec 8, 2006 9:43AM