Unified storage has yet to make an impact on IT decision makers, with few even able to define what it stands for and even less aware of the business benefits of implementation, according to a survey conducted at the recent Gartner Data Center Summit and SNW Europe by ONStor, a leading provider of clustered NAS solutions for primary and value-tier storage for enterprises and content-rich organisations.

The survey was conducted among the 1600 IT and business decision makers representing four continents and over 37 countries who attended the shows, at which only 58% of those questioned were familiar with the term unified storage.
Unified storage has been defined as a single integrated storage infrastructure that functions as a unification engine to simultaneously support Fibre Channel, IP Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) data formats.
Despite this, of the 50% who said they could define it, 43% thought it referred to virtualised storage and 56% believed it was a combination of back up and storage.
Other key findings highlighted:
* 21% of the same who had heard of Unified Storage believed it would deliver a lower total cost of ownership
* A further 21% believed it would provide a more flexible network moving forward
* The ability to protect the current investment in infrastructure was only cited by 8% and only 6% felt it would reduce operating costs and capital expenditure.
Narayan Venkat, vice-president: corporate marketing at ONStor, states: "What is absolutely clear from these top line survey findings is that the market needs more education on the benefits of unified storage, and that is where the vendor community needs to join forces with analysts to drive this message home. For our part we are ensuring we are including this subject each and every time we meet the analyst community as well as the critical end user market.
"When we meet with customers and prospects we take the time to educate them on the benefits of a unified storage solution, and this goes from initial meetings with prospects to our existing client training programmes."