Feature

Array vendors broaden their toolsets

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There's similar skepticism about adding features such as search at Hewlett-Packard (HP). "We actually look at it from a slightly different angle, basically linking the storage more closely to the app," says Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing for HP's StorageWorks Division. He says they haven't seen a need to add search to primary production storage. "I think CDP is higher on the list of what we're seeing." He cites deduplication and encryption as apps under consideration.

Other apps observers see making their way into array OSes include data classification and compression, which are typically delivered as third-party tools.

TheInfoPro's Stevenson notes that data classification often comes up in user interviews, but it's still far from the top of users' lists. Eitenbichler says classification is "definitely something we're looking into." NetApp shares that interest. "More integrated classification is certainly in the mix of things," says the firm's Bennett. "We do that in partnership with other folks today, but that's the kind of thing we could see integrated in the future."

Bennet says NetApp is looking at ways to better integrate security, and compression is also on its list. "Our medium-term plans definitely are to make that available in not just secondary storage environments," he says.

Storage arrays will gain more functions over time. "The more a solution can do, the more appeal it's going to have," says StorageIO Group's Schulz.

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But in a feature race, a lead can dissipate quickly. "Historically, we see leap-frogging," says Eitenbichler. "Somebody hops and then within three months or six months, everybody has it."

--Rich Castagna

This was first published in September 2007

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