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SAN Management Predictions
Some analysts predict that by 2006, storage area network (SAN) management functions will be embedded as part of storage element managers and storage resource management tools.
Sante says he sees this happening because such functions belong off servers and clients attached to the SAN and should migrate to the storage solutions. "I can talk for days about this, because users want to simplify their application servers and use them for the applications, and they want their storage infrastructure to provide access security, archiving, high availability, backup and recovery, and so on," he says.
Lauffin says he agrees because many of today's applications are not really applications, but utilities. "Years ago, programs like scan disk and defrag programs were sold as mainstream applications, but today these applications are simple embedded utilities," he explains.
Lauffin adds that there are many SAN management applications that fit into the same category. In addition, he says applications that are based on virtualization, online capacity expansion, and the like will also become embedded utilities. Lauffin says the type of applications or programs that will remain as apps will be databases, accounting, CRM, and similar functions, but he expects backup to become an embedded utility.
"Look at the caliber of features in the latest Microsoft operating system, and Oracle just implemented a backup feature for their database as long as you're going to disk," Lauffin continues. "It's not fully here today, but the writing is clearly on the wall."
With no end in sight to the exponential growth of enterprise data, it seems that the only way to control the cost is for companies to manage the data while ensuring its protection. While the storage industry has begun to address these issues, the future of enterprise storage management will continue to rely on a combination of the intelligence of storage technologies, the ability of storage vendors to create user-friendly products, and a storage management commitment from enterprises.