Happy 10th, INFOSTOR!

This issue marks our 10-year anniversary and, since our staff is geographically dispersed, we virtualized the celebration, complete with virtual martinis (VMs).

To commemorate the occasion, I kicked back with the October 1997 premiere issue-not so much to reminisce on a sentimental journey (because I’ve been here from the beginning), but to ruminate on what has transpired in the storage industry over the last decade.

After much argument over what to put on the cover of the premiere issue, we went with an “Are Your Interfaces Aligned?” theme and a special report on an interface that had just appeared on the scene: “Fibre Channel: A Bus is Born.”

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We cast the coverage in the light of controversy, because at that time it was debatable whether Fibre Channel could snuff out SCSI (or SSA)…or whether in fact Fibre Channel would succeed at all. Obviously, it did-in large part due to its ability to support a brand-new thing fortuitously dubbed a “storage area network.”

Ten years later, Fibre Channel is still battling SCSI for the limelight on the disk drive/array stage (and iSCSI on the SAN front), although this time around it’s pitted against the serial version of the venerable interface-SAS. And we continue to devote a lot of coverage to the relative positioning of the various interfaces.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. To a degree.

  • Virtualization was common back then, if you used MVS.
  • ILM was common, too, although we called it HSM.
  • Continuous data protection (CDP) was also commonplace. It referred to weekly backups.
  • Data de-duplication was de rigueur. We called it tape erasure.
  • We covered storage resource management (SRM) in 1997, although we had to continually define it. We still do.

In paging through that October 1997 issue, I was struck by how much simpler the storage industry was in days of yore. Back then we were able to segment our coverage neatly into four bins: disk, tape, optical, and software. I think we have about 97 bins today.

Software didn’t get much ink in 1997, but our premiere issue did introduce a novel concept: managing disk arrays via the Web.

The news section highlighted vendors such as HighGround, Digital Equipment, STK, and CNT-all of which go by different names these days. Other things that we found worthy of coverage in the October 1997 issue were:

  • DVD’s possible encroachment on CD-ROM territory;
  • The dominance of DLT in midrange tape libraries. (Today, DLT has a market share of less than 5%, while LTO has a market share of more than 90%.); and
  • A revolutionary storage technology called near-field recording (NFR), which promised to relegate traditional hard disk drives to the dust, or rust, bin. (NFR’s main proponent, the now-defunct TeraStor, ran an ad in our premiere issue that had the tag line “A Decade Ahead.”)

Unlike TeraStor-and many other storage start-ups and trade magazines that bit the dust over the last decade-InfoStor has managed to survive…and thrive.

As we sip our VMs, we’d like to think that our success is due to our singular focus on what is still one of the hottest segments of the IT industry, as well as our dedication to serving your storage information needs.

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Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on October 01, 2007