And still better value than paperOrganisations are now spending 12-15 per cent of their IT budgets on storage technology. Vendors have long-known this figure has been rising, with users increasingly archiving all sorts of material, from internet-based communications to multimedia files. In a research note, Meta Group notes the take off of storage area networks (SANs) - servers accessing disk-based resources using the Fibre Channel protocol over dedicated networks - is driving some of this increase. The analyst house found 70 per cent of CIOs sign off SAN purchases now, such is their importance. This figure is also linked to the cost of the technology. Meanwhile, the same analysts reckon the market for network attached storage (NAS) only grew "modestly" last year. NAS devices typically connect to an Ethernet LAN and are controlled by specialised operating systems. Reasons for the weaker growth include the general state of the world economy and budgets going on SANs. Meta predicts consolidation among NAS players up to 2006/7. Despite the overhead of storage systems, it is probably money well spent. The cost of storage, often measured per megabyte or per gigabyte, is still coming down, and separate figures out today from document imaging company Tower Technology suggest the annual cost of a filing cabinet for papers in an office in London's West End works out at £11,800.