The hottest technologies at SNW

Cruising the exhibit booths, press conferences, sessions, and bars at the Storage Networking World conference, which we did last month, is always a good barometer of what technologies and trends are hot. Here are our picks, in ascending order:

5. Solid-state disk (SSD) drives. There was a lot of talk about SSDs at Storage Networking World (mostly in the context of the raging SSD versus HDD debate), but there weren’t many product introductions at the show, although Intel did announce production shipments of its new line of flash drives, which will eventually spur further price erosion in this yet-to-get-hot market.

4. Cloud-based storage. Again, a lot of talk, but few vendors. The only cloud storage vendor we met with was Nirvanix, although this services category is expected to grow rapidly over the next couple quarters. For more on this subject, see “The benefits of cloud-based storage,” by the Taneja Group’s Jeff Boles, in this issue (see p. 29), which is the second part of an extensive three-part series.

3. Storage efficiency technologies, most notably data de-duplication and thin provisioning. Data de-duplication for secondary storage is becoming widespread, but there was a lot of talk at the show about data de-duplication for primary storage from vendors such as NetApp, Storwize, Ocarina Networks, and more to come.

2. Server virtualization. This is clearly the dominant IT trend, but there are so many storage technologies focused on optimizing virtual servers that it didn’t quite make the top of our list.

And the winner is . . .

Our choice for the hottest technology at SNW is highly arguable, mostly because it probably won’t see the light of day in terms of end-user adoption for a few more years: Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE).

For one, FCoE was the topic of the only major press conference at the show (hosted by QLogic, Cisco, NetApp, and VMware).

Two, a number of vendors made FCoE product—or at least product certification—announcements at the show (albeit prototypes in most cases), including EMC, NetApp, Brocade, Emulex, and QLogic.

And three, FCoE will provide controversy (as in 10Gbps iSCSI over Ethernet versus Fibre Channel over Ethernet) for years to come.

For more musings on FCoE, see my blog at infostor.com.

Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on November 01, 2008