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Technologies might be growing in leaps and bounds, but their deployment is an often agonizingly slow process. Still, evolving slowly can be a good thing. It gives you valuable time to plan and actually hatch a strategy or two, rather than reacting tactically all the time.

So even if you have to make do with that wheezy old array while it's still awash in red ink, you should be hard on the heels of all those startups and new tech vendors. It's not too difficult to figure out which technologies will stick and which will fade away in a few years, and it's a great opportunity to focus on those that can likely bring a little sanity to your shop, be a little more cost effective or scale to meet future requirements.

Those storage technologies that survive will use their long gestation periods to mature and evolve. By getting onboard early--not necessarily buying, but by pressing vendors for more useful features and complete products--you can influence the development of those technologies.

With two years left on an equipment lease, it would be easy to put your shop on autopilot. Instead, you should take advantage of the painstaking pace of change in storage by staying on top of new vendors, leaning on them for specifics and ultimately having a real influence on how "next-generation storage" will develop.

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This was first published in October 2007

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