Storage networking conference focuses on interoperability concerns

ORLANDO, Fla.�Interoperability, or the ability of multi-vendor system configurations to work harmoniously, is of major concern to both storage professionals and vendors. It comes as no surprise then that it's also one of the key issues highlighting the Storage Networking World (SNW) conference being held here this week.

As a number of vendors and standards group forums continue to crowd the enterprise storage "space," industry leaders here can be found reiterating the need to police themselves and ensure that their product offerings truly work well together.

Cosponsored by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and Computerworld , the annual conference has drawn over 1,500 attendees this year, with about two-thirds of them representing individual storage vendors and system integrators.

According to Dave Anderson, who heads the SNIA Technical Council, interoperability is one of the top concerns in the industry today. Along with other interoperability initiatives, SNIA is hoping to use forums like this week's event to help foster a team approach among storage vendors towards better interoperability. "I can't think of another forum where vendors get together to solve problems," Anderson said. "It represents a degree of openness and commitment you don't see anywhere else."

Included among the SNW displays during the show is an extensive interoperability lab, involving over 40 storage vendor devices and products. Among other things, the lab is meant to show how heterogeneous storage networks can be equipped and scaled to metropolitan and global network levels.

EMC President and CEO Michael Ruettgers provided the opening keynote address where he discussed the coming information content "big bang," where optical technology and storage devices will intersect to create a huge future need for storage. "The refrain continues," Ruettger said of future storage growth, "It's doubling: doubling of demand, doubling of capacities." From conversations he's had with several hundred customers last year, Ruettgers indicated that most enterprise storage business needs are doubling each year. He noted that dot coms have a much more compressed growth cycle. "Dot coms double every 90 days," he said.

Citing an anticipated dramatic drop in the future cost of bandwidth (at up to 80-90% of the current cost) and the low cost of storage devices in general, Ruettger said he believed the "doubling" trend would continue, where both storage capacity and available bandwidth could be expected to double every 9 months.

This growth trend also reinforces the need for interoperability and for vendors themselves to take on the role of guaranteeing that their products will work together, Ruettgers claimed. "Customers believe the industry should do all this interoperability testing and are measuring vendors on their ability to do this."

There's no doubt interoperability will remain key to this future. "Your corporation in the future will be valued more on how you get a return on information than anything else that you do," he said.

For more information:

Storage Networking Industry Association

Interoperability

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