Ask the Expert

2003 NAS predictions: NAS consolidation and TCP/IP accelerators -- Part 1

NAS expert Randy Kerns presents his 2003 predictions. We asked our site experts once again to take out their crystal ball and share with you their predictions not only in their area of expertise but for the storage market in general for the upcoming year 2003.

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For the general storage landscape:

Prediction 1:

Enterprise data center customers in the U.S. will start deploying new or more robust disaster recovery solutions. The DR solutions will be focused around remote copies of data with the ability to resume business by restarting critical applications at the remote site. This deployment will start slowly in the second quarter with steady increases over the rest of the year. The business risks that have been painfully identified will drive this and these companies will no longer be able to postpone this critical requirement for being in business. Many different techniques will be employed but the one gaining the most attention will be remote copy being done at the fabric layer of a storage area network. Different technologies will be employed (FC, IP, SONET, etc.) but the choice will be dictated by business reasons: Cost, speed, risk, etc. Much of the deployment will be accomplished by professional service organizations, capitalizing on the expertise they bring.

One unique aspect that will be very popular and capitalized on by some vendors will be the understanding that not all data to be replicated at the remote site has the same requirements as at the primary site. Consequently we will see some data replicated to similar, high-performance systems while other data will be replicate to lower performance and much lower cost storage. This will necessitate the ability to replicate data to different types (and even different vendor) storage systems. This will enhance the opportunities for companies that have products to provide this capability.

Prediction 2:

There will be a significant rise in the deployment of Storage Resource Management (SRM) solutions driven by the economic gains in capacity utilization and the ability to administer more storage per person. The majority of enterprise data center customers will deploy some SRM solution and vendors that are late to market with products will have greatly diminished opportunities. Customers will learn the value of the integration of storage management tools, the primary example being the integration of SRM and storage network management. Included in these deployments will be a substantial number of virtualization solutions where the virtualization is included as part of an overall storage management solution.

It will become clear that SRM has many elements that today may be offered as point products but the full value is realized when they are integrated as part a complete SRM solution. Vendors will start to compete on the completeness of their integrated solutions and those that are late will lose customer potential. There will be a division in the SRM solution space as well. Full function solutions will be targeted at the enterprise data center where it will be used by storage professionals while a much simpler (and much less costly) solution will be targeted at the small-to-medium business (SMB) market with only the occasional user.

Prediction 3:

2003 will see an unprecedented consolidation or liquidation of companies. Many startups that projected their business to take off will not be able to weather the economic downturn where markets have not materialized or customer demand has been muted. This will result in acquisitions by more successful companies (or at least with deeper pockets) or in liquidation as the money runs out with no real prospects to acquire more. This is a result of the economic conditions and has to be seen as just part of the business risk.

Click here for Part 2

This was first published in December 2002

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