Storage Users Don’t Shy Away From New Technology

SAN DIEGO — Storage users attending this week’s Storage Networking World were eager to learn about new storage technologies, judging from the packed halls in a number of sessions.

Sessions spanning a range of storage and networking issues and hands-on labs in emerging areas of IP storage, virtualization, SANs and management were overflowing. Storage grids and security were also hot topics.

Virtualization remains a big issue. In a SNIA tutorial, Xiotech’s Rob Peglar positioned storage virtualization as an enabling technology that allows IT administrators to simplify management of storage resources and reduce infrastructure complexity.

Dragon Slayer Consulting’s Marc Staimer used IDC’s forecast that storage will double every two years to motivate IT to attack supply and downtime problems by adding virtualization. Staimer maintained that virtualization can make provisioning, data migration and data protection nondisruptive to applications, but warned attendees to examine products in light of their scalability, capacity and performance requirements.

With user pain points of reliability, business continuity and cost containment continuing to resonate across industries, storage infrastructures based on new architectures are emerging at corporations. One of these, storage grids, was highlighted in a number of sessions and in show floor displays by the Global Grid Forum, which focuses on the overall architecture for grid computing and definition of services, and the Enterprise Grid Alliance, which defines enterprise requirements.

Presentations from HP and Hitachi claimed that while storage clusters can offer a fixed set of capabilities focused on high availability and scalability, grids can support a broad and changeable set of capabilities, and higher levels of control and automation. Future promises of application integration, simpler growth and incorporation of new technologies await users in next generation products.

Finally, in the wake of news stories on lost data and new compliance and governance requirements, it’s not surprising that security captured the attention of many attendees. Storage security is essential to maintain availability, resiliency and chain of custody, according to a SNIA tutorial delivered by LeRoy Budnik of training company Knowledge Transfer. Budnik advocated a systematic approach to enable a secure, compliant environment. Security capabilities should be driven by business requirements in a process where business identifies strategic drivers and data affected by these drivers, and IT develops a storage security policy to match requirements to security capabilities. New standards such as Fibre Channel Security Protocol (FC-SP) should aid in efforts to improve storage fabric security and simplify management of threats, Budnik said.

Editor’s note: LeRoy Budnik will host a free storage security webcast on June 21.

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