This issue marks three-year anniversary. Our growth has paralleled the explosive growth in the storage industry, which has been fueled by a number of exciting trends.
Back in 1997, today's hot storage trends were either niche markets or mere gleams in vendors' eyes. Network-attached storage (NAS), for example, was a niche market dominated by a couple of vendors. Today, dozens of vendors are vying for a piece of the $1.3-billion NAS market, which is expected to top $6.7 billion in 2003.
And Fibre Channel-based storage area networks (SANs) were still in the paper napkin stage in 1997. Today, SANs are redefining how IT professionals and third-party storage integrators (our readers) evaluate and implement storage solutions.
Although the hot trends that fueled market growth over the last three years are still our primary editorial focus, we're looking forward to covering other exciting trends that will shape the storage industry in the years to come.
Fibre Channel, for example, won't be the only game in town when it comes to building storage networks (although it will still be the dominant enabling technology for the foreseeable future). IP-based storage networks hold plenty of appeal to IT managers, and they may become a reality next year.
And NAS will benefit from a number of technology breakthroughs, including new file-system protocols and architectures that blur the distinctions between NAS and SAN.
Meanwhile, exciting trends and hard-fought battles continue on the tape, optical, and storage management software fronts.
Just as we have been for the last three years, we'll be there in the future to track these trends and to help our readers stay on top of the storage market, which continues to garner more and more attention from IT managers and systems integrators. As always, feel free to let us know what we're doing right, and what we're doing wrong.
To keep up with our growth rate, we're making a number of additions and changes to our editorial staff. Former managing editor Heidi Biggar has been promoted to senior editor, which will free her up for full-time writing. Heidi's been with InfoStor from the beginning, when she joined us from sister publication Data Storage magazine.
Also, noted writer and consultant Richard Lee has joined InfoStor as editor-at-large, a title that means different things to different publications. Richard will be a regular contributor, writing "analysis" articles that combine news reporting with a consultant's analytical views.
Next month, we will announce one more addition to our senior editor staff.
In this issue
Our Special Report this month focuses on the unsung workhorses of the storage industry-disk drives. You can't make an intelligent purchasing decision on JBOD or RAID arrays without knowing about the trends and technologies shaping the drive industry. Heidi Biggar takes a look at what drive manufacturers are doing to make disk arrays rise to the challenges that ever-faster servers and application requirements are posing.
I'd also like to call attention to one other feature in this issue: "A realistic view of IP storage," by Tom Clark. Tom works for Vixel and is also a prolific writer of articles and books, including Designing Storage Area Networks (Addison Wesley Longman).
There's a lot of confusing hype and posturing in both the IP SAN and Fibre Channel SAN camps. Tom's article is one of the best I've seen on the subject because-even though he works for Vixel (which is heavily leveraged in the Fibre Channel market)-he presents a level-headed view of the issues and challenges surrounding these technologies. Read it, and stay tuned for further coverage on this subject as IP storage vendors actually deliver product.
It's the show you love to hate, but Comdex is coming in a couple of weeks. And virtually every storage vendor will be there, either on the show floor or in hotel suites.
For you Fibre Channel fans, the first stop should be the Fibre Channel Industry Association's exhibit area, located in the North Hall at Booth L3215. More than 50 Fibre Channel vendors will be in one area, making it easy for one-stop shopping and tire-kicking.
Dave Simpson, Editor-in-Chief