Storage Technologies to Watch - An Industry Perspective


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In today's global marketplace, many companies have seen a significant increase in the volume of information being produced and stored. Enterprises are continually faced with the need for more and more storage capacity, while ensuring that the data stored can be accessed on an as needed basis. They must also, in light of the value of the data, ensure that it is protected against loss or damage. The safe and secure storage of data has always been a priority for business, but in the past it used to be that the available technology drove the data storage methods. Nowadays, with network storage, the tables have turned.

Network Storage: The Fastest Growing Market
Whereas in the past, business often had to sacrifice convenience for technological limitations, both Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Network (SAN) technologies have enabled organizations to deploy storage in ways that are best suited for their particular business needs. Even so, as the amount of information increases, companies continually search for new ways to deploy storage technologies that not only meet their immediate needs, but that will also protect their technology and business investment into the future.

It is estimated that the global storage market is worth $44 billion a year. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), an independent research firm, network storage is one of the fastest growing segments of this market. IDC estimates that 1.3 million terabytes of storage will be sold by the end of 2002. Gartner Dataquest, another independent research company, predicts that the cost per megabyte of storage, which was 15 cents in 2000, could fall to as little as 3 cents per megabyte by 2003.

The Storage Technology of the Future
The traditional storage management model of one server type with one or more storage subsystems directly attached just doesn't work once a storage system reaches the 500 gigabyte to terabyte level. Because of this, storage managers and the storage industry as a whole are constantly trying to figure out what technologies will help them best in their search for storage nirvana.

Two technologies that have received a great deal of attention especially from companies requiring flexible storage solutions, data storage security and disaster recovery functions, are IP storage and iSCSI. According to Todd Viegut, vice president of marketing for Storage Computer Corporation, Storage over Internet Protocol (IP) is the most intriguing technology to watch in the future. However, he also explained that, although it sounds very promising, "there are still some very interesting concerns regarding throughput and latency."

While acknowledging that Storage over IP will be a significant part of the network storage landscape, Steven Toole, vice president of marketing for Precise WQuinn, a storage software company, believes that Storage Resource Management (SRM) is the technology to watch. "Any storage analyst will tell you that SRM must be in place before even considering supply-side storage technologies such as virtualization, SAN, and NAS." Toole went on to say that without proper controls of how storage is being used, it's senseless to keep habitually expanding capacity.

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