Storage still a priority for IT despite economic problems

The economy may be in a recession, and the stock market may be going through convulsions -- prompting talk of possible within IT departments. But at this point, data storage doesn't appear to be an area that many companies or other organizations are targeting for budget cuts.

The reason, according to a sampling of attendees at the conference here this week, is simple: even with the economy struggling and Wall Street , the amount of critical data that needs to be securely stored continues to increase, with no end in sight.

For example, Gary Pedersen, storage manager for the city of Plano, Texas, said that thus far, at least, the IT department there is moving forward with projects as scheduled. From a storage perspective, he added, the amount of incoming data certainly isn't being reduced, despite the economic downturn. "Data is just coming out of everybody's ears," Pedersen said. "We have to keep up with it or we'll sink."

To help cope with the , Plano is looking at installing new storage equipment and storage-area networks (SAN). "We've got to revamp our whole storage system," Pedersen said. "We're beyond adding on."

The city -- population 255,000 -- currently uses a , which provides adequate bandwidth and performance, according to Pedersen. But he's evaluating less expensive alternatives, including .

Pedersen also said that he was attending the conference, which is run jointly by Computerworld and the Storage Networking Industry Association, to learn about technologies that will become available a year or two from now. "I want to see what's here so we can prepare for tomorrow," he noted.