Storage trends for 2006: iSCSI and security


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It's that time of year when analysts return from their Turkey-day hiatus with two things on their minds: technology predictions for the upcoming year and their annual year-end bonus.

I spend most of my time in the techno-weenie world of security, so I'm exposed to the entire technology spectrum. I'm also fortunate to work with some of the smartest storage people around. In addition, since I cut my tech-industry teeth in storage (EMC, class of 1987) and write this column every month, I keep my ear to the ground. With that, let me describe some trends I anticipate for 2006.

Trend 1: The rise and maturation of intelligent storage networking
This prediction is pretty easy as we've already seen a ton of cool appliances and defined network storage application platforms in 2005. As a broad market observer, however, I can safely say, "You ain't seen nothing yet." Peek over the fence at your peers in networking and you'll see a harbinger of things to come.

In the IP space, inline devices are cracking open packets to perform all kinds of services. Equipment from companies like 3Com, Cisco, Citrix and F5 look at Layers 4 through 7 of the venerable OSI stack and then make security, content routing and application-processing decisions. This network magic is available courtesy of cheap microprocessors and network accelerators from a bevy of other vendors such as Broadcom, Cavium Networks and Hifn. Cisco storage

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is on top of this trend, probably because its Catalyst (IP switching) team runs into the MDS gang every once in a while in the hallways of Cisco's campus in San Jose, CA, or at some bar in Palo Alto after hours. The rest of the storage networking and application vendors aren't far behind.

On the demand side of the equation, ESG Research points out that users are embracing intelligent storage networking, as more than half of all firms with more than $1 billion in revenue rank among the early adopters of intelligent storage networking. Why? The three top reasons were as follows: to simplify management of storage resources, to reduce overall spending and to improve the ability to provision new storage resources. These pioneering users say they're happy with their intelligent storage networks and have seen results exceeding ROI expectations in some cases.

It's a classic economic case: Supply meets demand. Look for loads of "big, honking, smart multiprotocol storage switches," new appliances and gobs of network storage software in 2006.

This was first published in December 2005

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