Feature

Welcome to the first issue of Storage

We set out last summer to create the best magazine dedicated to storage. We think you'll be as excited reading it as we were in creating it.

Hardly a week has gone by in the last several months when someone didn't ask me "Are you guys sure you really want to launch a magazine in this economic climate?" Well, we're not launching a magazine, we're launching a storage magazine, and it's about time.

The truth is if you manage storage in a corporate IT department, you're ahead of the media. You view storage not as a component in a computer but as a strategic pillar of information technology. That's why storage is one of the few sectors of high tech that has continued to grow during this recession - because it's now one of the main ways IT professionals can make a difference in how their company does business, and in what it costs to operate that business.

So how could we wait any longer? The situation demands an independent, in-depth, insightful strategic information resource, and that's what we've set out to be.

We plan to cover all forms of data storage, from the most basic internal disk drives to mainframe ESCON technology. But this is a magazine for professionals, not endusers, so we'll definitely be paying more attention to servers than anything else. Furthermore, our vision is most focused on networked storage. It's the combination of modern array technology with switching that has really transformed storage into a strategic pillar of computing, right

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up there with networking and databases.

We all still talk about "data networks" and "storage networks," but the truth is that so-called storage networks are really information networks. If you're a long-haul telco carrier, your network just carries ones and zeros. But if you're a storage manager, your network is where highly organized information resides. Without that network, the files and databases - the lifeblood of every business - would not be as accessible, available or reliable. The organization, the connectivity, and the redundancy that you supply makes corporate information more valuable.

Managing those assets across networks is an awesome responsibility and our job is to help you learn about the tools, the technologies, and the practices to meet that challenge. Our role is to be your eyes and ears, and to apply our professional expertise - the presentation of complex information - to what we learn on your behalf. We have a large advisory board of over 50 corporate storage managers who help us stay pointed in the right direction, but this is your magazine, too. Our inbox is always open.

Now, here's a brief user guide to Storage.

TRENDS will give you a quick read on what we've seen happening recently. If you're interested in the latest news, we've included a selection of that from our sister website, http://www.SearchStorage.com, where they're hosting a special Web page with that news for you. You'll find that in news in short within trends.

SearchStorage also contributes some of the best of their very popular ASK THE EXPERT column.

Most of TRENDS, though, is a look beyond the headlines. We go the next step to analyze what's behind the latest news, to make sense out of recent events and developments. And we keep one eye on the horizon to act as an early warning service for you, alerting you to technologies and trends that may not have come across your radar screen yet. Speaking of off the radar screen, BEHIND THE FIREWALL will give you the inside scoop on things vendors are not putting out press release about. It's put together by our industry insider - he's a little shy about being identified, but he's definitely in the know.

And that leads into our cover story followed by the rest of our features. Here's where we give you in-depth, critical editorial on the key issues of the day. We've worked hard to make the stories highly readable, but also highly scannable - there are lots of useful sidebars, lists, and diagrams in the articles. We think you'll find several stories each month that address the challenges you face each day.

This month, for example we tackle:

  • The explosion of customer data into the multiterabyterange
  • SAN security (yes, it exists)
  • TCP offload engines
  • Microsoft Exchange's peculiar aversion to NAS
  • Storage resource management tools - how to pick 'em and how to use 'em
  • Our own survey of the health of the storage profession

We also have two features that are just the first of an extended discussion. Steve Duplessie fires off a manifesto about the need to build a storage utility. This is a theme that we also examine in our cover story, and will be covering repeatedly from different angles in coming months. We'll look at what it means, how to do it, what the payoff is, and perhaps, some contrarian views about the wisdom of it (yes, contrarians, I'm inviting you to respond).

The second theme we will be devoting repeated coverage to this year is disaster recovery. In the wake of Sept. 11, storage managers find themselves thrust onto the frontline of protecting their companies from such horrific events.

Before corporate energy fades back into the usual token obeisances to planning, we would like to contribute to the development of new thinking about how to update disaster recovery planning to reflect the realities of the 21st century, whether that's the geopolitical or the technological realities. So stay tuned - as soon as April we take this topic up again.

Following the features is our columns section. Our columns provide direct advice from experienced practitioners who have been where you now want to go.

BEST PRACTICES will focus on the how of managing storage - what are the best processes and procedures? It's written by Darryl Brooks, who is a senior architect for Sanology, a storage integration firm.

Our second column, INTEGRATION, addresses the No. 1 challenge ITprofessionals face - integrating multiple technologies - from the storage manager's perspective. Richard Scannell and Stephen Foskett, both experienced storage consultants from GlassHouse Technologies Inc., share the experience they've gained from their practice.

Lastly, CAREERS is devoted to the professional aspect of your job. It will also help you succeed in managing your staff. It's written by our own Features editor, Rich Friedman, who's been tracking IT careers for several years and computer technology for 20 years.

Finally, if you open the back cover, you'll see THE REAL DEAL. We know it's not all new technology and glory - every day you buy lots of plain old disk drives, tape drives, and media to keep the wheels from coming off. We've assembled a secret panel of dealers to measure what current prices are for these items so that you can benchmark your own purchases.

So dig in. And fire back. We ask you to keep us honest on serving your needs as IT professionals, and not just parroting industry hype. Make sure we're giving you the combination of business and technical perspective that you need. While we're keeping you informed about what's just over the horizon, don't let us lapse into mindless cheerleading for unproven vaporware. Remember Storage is supposed to be your magazine. When we don't get it, give it to us.

This was first published in July 2002

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