A quarter of sysadmins spend nearly half their time dealing with storage issues, according to a Vanson Bourne survey run for UK systems house Morse.

And three-quarters of companies quizzed said it took up to a fifth of their entire IT department's time. That's time spent on operations data, back-up, email and application data. So what?

Well, Derek Lewis, software manager for Morse's IBM division, is convinced it shouldn't be like that: "Storage management is taking far too long in most organisations. It is an important task but it simply should not be taking 20 percent, let alone 40 percent of an IT department's resource."

Why so much time? Complexity due to more and more data was cited by 67 percent. And 37 percent listed regulatory compliance as a reason for increased complexity - 74 percent for financial companies.

About half the organisations also said their data was managed in distributed silos and not centrally, while 64 percent of IT managers said the lack of a central view of all data and associated storage devices was a big factor in why storage management was becoming more difficult and complex.

Lewis thinks that by buying storage in separate departmental silos a lot of money is being wasted: "By managing storage centrally, IT managers can increase utilisation in addition to making management easier. They need to look towards virtualisation technology as this will provide them with a single consolidated view of all data and storage resources."

The Morse-coded message is to consolidate and virtualise your storage. The financial sector add-on is to get a compliance function integrated with this.

Vanson Bourne surveyed 100 UK businesses. The survey contained an equal mix (25 percent from each category) of businesses from financial services, manufacturing, and retail, distribution or transport and "other commercial" sectors. All the companies involved in the survey had over 1000 employees and 50 percent had over 3,000 employees.