Hot technologies for 2011


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Some of the leading scale-out NAS products include HP's StorageWorks X9000 storage system, which includes technology gained from the company's July 2009 acquisition of Ibrix Inc.; IBM's Scale Out Network Attached Storage (SONAS), which uses the company's General Parallel File System (GPFS) for high-performance computing; Isilon Systems Inc.'s S-Series and X-Series scale-out storage platforms, which are favored by the media and entertainment industries; and NetApp's Data Ontap 8 storage operating system, which incorporates the scalable file system technology the company acquired when it bought Spinnaker Networks Inc. in 2003. Both Taneja Group's Boles and StorageIO Group's Schulz said it will be interesting to see what Dell does with its EqualLogic product line and the scale-out technology it gained by buying Exanet Inc. in February 2010.

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Not hot yet

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
Last year, FCoE was also on our "Not Yet" list, but we're not just picking on this technology -- we truly think it's going to heat up one of these days and become the hottest storage network technology around. We just don't think it's going to happen soon. Most of the parts that make up FCoE are here, but storage array support still lags. Fibre Channel networks are the Rodney Dangerfield of storage environments; they don't get a lot of respect and nobody ever relishes a network upgrade.

Virtualized Networks (or Virtualized I/O)
This is one of the coolest new technologies around. It does for HBAs and NICs what VMware did for servers by turning them into shared, and virtual, devices. By adding a layer between your servers and their network hookups, you can share those interfaces and allocate them dynamically or based on policies. With servers and storage virtualized, why ignore the network? We think all I/O virtualization may need is a little boost from one of the big vendors, but we don't see that happening in 2011.

Self-Healing Systems
There's something a little spooky about storage arrays that know more about themselves than you do, but if they can use that knowledge to avoid time-draining disk failures, we're all for it. Although a fair number of array vendors offer systems with some self-healing capabilities, it currently sounds a little more like a science project than the right stuff for your company's data. But it shouldn't be long before the list of self-healing systems grows. It's a win-win deal: You get some peace of mind and the vendor gets some service and support relief.

Unified Computing (Integrated Storage Stacks)
It's IT in a box. Everything you need to fill your data center with servers and storage, and the network to tie it all together, all on a single SKU. Vendors like the idea so much that they're following EMC's lead and partnering up so they can offer soup-to-nuts packages, too. Some call it convenience, but for others the word is "proprietary." The "stack attack" has been tried before with less than awesome results; we'll see how it fares this time.



This was first published in December 2010

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