Like most publications these days, InfoStor uses its Website for reader research. We use the information to tailor our editorial coverage to the topics and technologies that are of most interest to you.
One method we use to gauge reader interest is to track the popularity of specific articles, based on the number of times that an article is printed out and/or forwarded. In one tracking period, the following articles topped the list:
- Fibre Channel vs. IP vs. InfiniBand
- Inside the Direct Access File System
- In-depth: Storage resource management
- IP-based storage: The buzz on the wire
- New players enter SRM market
- Combining the benefits of NAS and SAN
Another method we use is to track the keywords that are most often entered into our search engine. Since March 2001, the top five keywords have been iSCSI, virtualization, SAN, NAS, and SSPs, and our editorial coverage this month reflects your choices.
FC, iSCSI, InfiniBand
It's clear that the issue of which interconnect and protocols to use in building storage area networks (Fibre Channel, IP/iSCSI, and InfiniBand) is of prime interest to our readers. That's understandable because, no matter which approach you take, it's going to be expensive so you better make the right decision at the outset: Forklift swap-outs down the road will surely bust your budget.
If you're one of the readers with a keen interest in iSCSI, be sure to read this issue's Opinion column ("Dispelling the FUD surrounding iSCSI," p. 70) written by Cisco's Clint Jurgens. Cisco is not exactly an impartial observer on this issue, but Jurgens does do a good job of clearing the fear, uncertainty, and doubt surrounding a protocol that some see as a direct competitor to Fibre Channel.
The high interest in DAFS is probably a reflection of curiosity about a very new but not widely understood, technology (which won't be available until next year). Unlike iSCSI, it's debatable whether DAFS will ever become a widely accepted standard, even though it finally made its way into the Internet Engineering Task Force labyrinth for standards approval (see cover story this month).
Storage resource management is also a very hot topic, as IT administrators grapple with getting a grip on the out-of-control costs associated with managing exploding amounts of data. Recent acquisitions highlight the importance of SRM: For example, Sun's whopping $400 million buyout of HighGround early this year and, more recently, the modest $35 million purchase of W. Quinn by Precise Software (see cover story).
Intense interest in storage virtualization is predictable, primarily because nobody knows-or at least agrees on-what it is. But once again, recent acquisitions paint the picture: Not that Hewlett-Packard is particularly savvy when it comes to acquisitions, but its $350 million purchase of StorageApps says a lot about how important HP's customers think virtualization is or will someday be.
As a base definition: "Virtualization separates the representation of storage to the server operating system from actual physical storage," according to the Aberdeen Group consulting firm. But it can go way beyond that, and that's when definitions get cloudy. Suffice it to say that virtualization simplifies the management of heterogeneous storage resources and, like SRM, that's a good thing.
If you're one of the readers searching for more information on virtualization, read "Storage virtualization: Beyond the basics" in this issue (see p. 40). It's the second in a three-part series on virtualization, written by Veritas' John Maxwell.
Reader interest in storage service providers says at least one thing: You're more willing to read about SSPs than to pay them to manage your storage. I've been skeptical about SSPs from the get-go and, so far, the concept has fallen mostly on deaf ears in the IT community. In fact, most SSPs have ceased referring to themselves as SSPs, preferring to become managed services providers or just software vendors. But SSPs did make the top five in our list of popular keyword searches, so maybe 2002 will be the year that promise turns into profitability.
Dave Simpson, Editor-in-Chief