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Hot storage technologies for 2010

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Boles said the market has taken a "massive step forward" in the last six months with systems that intelligently integrate solid state, providing a more efficient way to share solid-state capacity among hosts and automatically move data among multiple pools of storage media. Boles cited IBM's addition of SSDs to its SVC storage virtualization device, new offerings from startups Avere Inc. and StorSpeed that offer granular automated tiered storage, and hints of products to come related to developments such as Texas Memory Systems' acquisition of storage virtualization player Incipient.

"This trend will carry forward in 2010," Boles said, but so far most automated tiered storage and storage virtualization devices handle moving data in and out of solid-state devices at the LUN or volume level, when the most efficient method would be at the block level. "It may be 2011 before we see solid-state storage applied in more unique ways at increased densities," he said.

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Not quite hot … yet

 

Cloud storage. Truth is, cloud storage was already struggling for clarity in the marketplace before the October mess with Microsoft and Sidekick carrier T-Mobile. Maybe it wasn't as bad as it first seemed, but some users still lost data -- not exactly a boost for the cloud storage cause. Still, cloud storage is getting plenty of good publicity, which has resulted in a lot of buzz, some new fans and a long line of experts predicting eventual success. But all of that hasn't translated to a prime-time slot for cloud storage.

Disaster recovery (DR) testing software.All the DR gurus keep warning us that solid DR strategies -- and regular DR testing -- should be top priorities, but these products just can't seem to get the respect they deserve. These apps have gotten some traction, but they're still viewed as luxury items at a time when storage pros are spending only on necessities. The bottom line is that DR testing software isn't likely to take off until budgets loosen up.

FCoE. Talk about Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and it's easy to get smart people to agree on two things. Yes, it has tangible, proven benefits. No, they don't want to overhaul their data center to accommodate it. Despite all the chatter about FCoE, most storage arrays don't support it yet and most vendors aren't rushing to add it. Experts say FCoE won't heat up until 2011 -- and then the fun will really start, as storage and networking teams duke it out over control of the converged infrastructure.

Tape encryption. If you have tape media going offsite, encryption makes sense, right? Especially with encryption built into LTO-4/5 drives. But key management and the challenges of encrypting at the client remain obstacles. As the security pros like to say, if you lose your keys, you lose your data. Despite hardware and software technology improvements, tape encryption still can't squeeze its way into the spotlight.

 

8 Gbps Fibre Channel

IT organizations haven't made a mad dash to get to 8 Gbps Fibre Channel, but they'll certainly move steadily in that direction as they refresh or add new host bus adapters (HBAs), switches and storage arrays. The pace will accelerate when the cost of the faster technology nears parity with the price of current 4 Gbps gear.

For instance, when Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) needed to increase the port count of its core switch infrastructure, it found the cost of new 8 Gbps 64-port switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. to be close to what it had paid for 4 Gbps switches the prior year.

This was first published in December 2009

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