Industry News and Analysis

Disk storage systems market shows signs of turnaround
Network storage is sustaining growth in a disk storage systems market still recovering after plunging roughly 20% from 2000-2001, according to IDC.
ONStor delivers SAN-based file services
Start-up ONStor claims its SF4400 "SAN filer," which it began shipping this month, addresses users' top network-attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) issues, including backup, load balancing, clustering, return on investment (ROI), management, and performance.
ExaGrid crisscrosses the competition
While larger and more-established vendors are knee-high in visions of utility computing, start-up ExaGrid is making final preparations for the release of its Grid Protected Storage architecture, a framework analysts say creates a utility-computing-like environment for a variety of integrated storage services.
NetApp expands NAS gateway support
Making further inroads into the network-attached storage (NAS) gateway market, Network Appliance is adding IBM storage area network (SAN) support to its gFiler gateway and will sell the product directly as well as through the channel, the company announced this week.
Network Appliance acquires Spinnaker Networks
With its recent acquisition of network-attached storage (NAS) start-up Spinnaker Networks for approximately $300 million in stock, Network Appliance is making its move into the massively scalable NAS market that it could not previously target with its pure filer-based approach, say analysts.
The year in review, in 700 words or less
The economy didn't help much, but this was still an exciting year in the storage industry. Here are my picks for the Top Trends in 2003, in no particular order.
Take an integrated approach to e-mail archiving
It's almost enough to drive us back to snail mail.
Security threats drive users to encryption
IT organizations are redefining data protection to encompass more than just backup, restore, and replication. Today, data protection sometimes means a bullet-proof vest for data on storage arrays, and maybe even tape libraries.
Protecting mid-tier storage investments
Companies are increasingly challenged to find mid-tier storage solutions that will evolve with their business needs. They need hardware and software combinations that will provide a stable path to future growth while reducing IT costs, including ongoing management and training costs. Most importantly, they want solutions that will offer the highest level of investment protection.
New twists on disk-vs.-tape backup debate
In just about every storage-oriented publication you read these days, there is an article that discusses the virtues of either disk or tape technology as a backup medium.
New approaches to managing reference information
Although it's one of this year's leading buzzwords, "reference information" is a term that should not—and, in many cases, cannot—be ignored. In fact, some analysts say the sheer enormity of the impending reference information boom begs prompt end-user attention.
IBM, Cisco team on virtualization
This month, IBM delivered virtualization and storage services on Cisco's MDS 9000 line of fabric switches and directors. IBM ported its TotalStorage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) software to Cisco's Caching Services Module (CSM), a specialized line card that goes into MDS 9216 switches or 9500 series directors. The two companies claim that the integration project has been in development for two years.
Leveraging replication to improve disaster recovery
Although traditional disaster-recovery challenges (i.e., natural disasters, fires, massive power outages) loom as large as ever, organizations that are preparing disaster-recovery strategies today must address a host of new challenges and concerns. Fortunately, new software technologies are now available to help augment current infrastructures to keep business applications up and running.
IP vs. Fibre Channel SANs
The advent of iSCSI-based storage area networks (IP SANs) is generating some controversy relative to established Fibre Channel SANs as some early adopters have finally climbed onboard and observers are placing bets on the outcome.
From NAS filers and gateways to SAN filers
Thanks in part to simplicity and reliability, the network-attached storage (NAS) market is growing faster than the market for general-purpose servers. By consolidating data on easily deployed platforms, IT managers have found a simple solution to storage "bloat."
Fibre Channel or IP, or both?
Fibre Channel is the dominant protocol and transport for storage area networking (SAN).
Dispelling common backup misconceptions
When it comes to protecting data, users have an increasing number of options, which can make choosing the right product—or combination of products—a gargantuan undertaking for large data centers, small businesses, and those in-between.
CIM, WBEM deliver the building blocks of SMI-S
Management is at the crux of any effective storage environment. However, administrators are faced with overseeing multiple management applications, most of which are not interoperable, leading to expensive configuration and integration woes.
Blue-laser optical systems debut
This month, Plasmon and Sony began shipping optical disc drives based on new blue-laser technology. Libraries based on the drives are expected early next year.
Arrow distributes first IP SAN bundle
Arrow Enterprise Storage Solutions is distributing an IP storage area network (SAN) bundle based on iSCSI products from Adaptec and Network Appliance. This is the first iSCSI host bus adapter (HBA) and native iSCSI target configuration available to resellers through a major distributor, according to Adaptec officials.
Veritas pushes toward DLM, integration
In what was described as one of the company's most comprehensive product rollouts this year, Veritas last month announced plans to expand and enhance its enterprise data-protection family with a variety of new or enhanced backup, data life-cycle management (DLM), and other management products.