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10Gb Ethernet and SAS-2, replication for DR, global dedupe, SaaS and self-healing systems will shine in 2009.

each year, a handful of storage technologies seem poised to break out of the pack and become essential building blocks for new products that make storage easier to manage, less costly and better performing. For our annual forecast, these are the five technologies we think will be hot in 2009: 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) and 6Gb/sec SAS are less-expensive alternatives to Fibre Channel (FC) networking and storage. Remote replication for disaster recovery, while not new, is becoming the cornerstone of DR plans. Global deduplication, managing islands of dedupe and virtual tape library (VTL) appliances and sharing dedupe data among them, is a much-needed innovation for next-generation dedupe products. Storage-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings are becoming increasingly appealing in tough economic times. And self-healing systems, arrays that help cut management time and data loss, round out our list.

As we do each year, we'll cite several promising technologies that, for various reasons, will not be hot in 2009 (see "Not hot in 2009," below). Finally, we'll do a self-imposed reality check and rate the accuracy of the hot technology predictions we made last year (see "

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Report card on our 2008 predictions").

Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). It isn't sizzling yet. Sure, it was early 2008 when Cisco Systems Inc. closed the deal on its Nuova Systems acquisition and unveiled the Nexus 5000 series FCoE unified fabric switch. We also know that Cisco--along with Emulex Corp., Intel Corp., QLogic Corp. and others--has cranked up the heat to declare FCoE ready to take off in 2009. But we're betting FCoE won't start picking up traction until 2010 at the earliest.

Green storage. Once IBM Corp. started making catchy commercials parodying the gap between IT and corporate when it comes to green initiatives, it was clear the green revolution was in trouble. But IBM has it right: Green storage is about saving money. Green storage technology needs to work its way into storage products more tightly, and we need some good, easy-to-compare benchmarks for storage managers to address conservation issues. That will take time.

InfiniBand for storage. It sure gets enough press, but it still hasn't caught on for mainstream storage. It's currently used mainly for high-performance computing on the networking side. Is it holding its own? Yes. Is it heating up? For now, it's lukewarm.

Primary storage dedupe/compression. NetApp and two smaller companies (Ocarina Networks and Storwize Inc.) have been touting their ability to bring dedupe and compression technology to primary storage, but it's not being used for high-transaction database data because deduplication works best with data that doesn't change much; performance is also an issue.

This was first published in December 2008

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