Article

Gartner and you project storage's future

Mark Lewis

The topsy-turvy storage world continues to get more complex with each passing day. While many of you are having problems managing your data today, the analysts at Gartner are looking ahead for you.

Last week at PlanetStorage 2002, Gartner analysts took out their crystal ball and peered as far out as 2006. While it's even hard to tell where you'll be at the end of 2002, it doesn't hurt to plan for future technologies and assess what is going to be the right fit for your company.

What are some of the recommendations top analysts are making to the storage decision maker? We explore some of the top recommendations from Gartner analysts below.

After you do get a chance to scroll through some of the recommendations and predictions, take a few minutes to make your own predictions. SearchStorage wants to know where you think the storage industry is going. What are you biggest storage needs? Do you think Fibre Channel is over the hill? What are you looking for in a hardware or software vendor? Take a few minutes to answer these questions in our survey.

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predictions for the storage industry.

Network storage:

Plan for the convergence of SAN and NAS

Bob Passmore, Gartner research director, warns that the convergence of these two technologies is nearing. This fusion of the two networked storage options creates one term, FAS, or Fabric-attachted storage. Passmore sees SANs running over Fibre Channel and IP networks. Also, NAS running over FC. The advent of NAS heads makes this transition smoother.

See our SearchStorage convergence resources:

  • Combining NAS head solutions

  • SAN/NAS convergence links

  • White paper: Planning for network attached storage and storage area network convergence

    Hardware:

    Bye-bye DAS, hello ATA

    The hardware market is getting little in the way of respect these days. But, undoubtedly this segment of storage, while not the boffo revenues for vendors, is still a critical segment of the market. According to Roger Cox, projections for the next 5 years in direct-attached (DAS) market look pretty dismal. Cox sees the DAS shrinking 7.5% by 2006. Meanwhile, there is a 'bright future' for the FAS market. Growth there is projected at 27.5%. Another overriding theme that Cox and Gartner hard drive analyst John Malone drove home was there will be a move to low-cost serial ATA drives. But, James Opfer, chief analyst at Gartner Dataquest warns: "users will have to accept the fact that relatively inexpensive ATA-interface system solutions will have limitations, and may have some compatibility issues with legacy installations."

    See our SearchStorage hardware resources:

  • Serial ATA hard drives are coming, but when and where will they fit in?

  • Hardware links

  • Tape is dead: Long live tape!

    Software:

    Sling me another SAM

    Software, the new storage frontier. Not only are most vendors angling for their share of the storage market, but Gartner analysts agree that major revenues will be realized by software. Nick Allen, Gartner Vice President says its not all about SAN management software anymore, but storage area management (SAM) software. Allen recommends companies budget for and buy training and SAM automation software to leverage staff resources. Roger Cox notes "Vendors must provide a comprehensive storage solution portfolio (SAN, NAS and DAS) to meet the user's end-to-end IT storage infrastructure needs".

    More on storage software and SAM:

  • Michele's picks on SAM, SRM and SAN management information

  • Sun debuts Storage One Architecture portfolio

  • Storage software links

    Interoperability

    Users make the call

    "Vendors must support industry standards and provide and share rich APIs to enable the development of useful storage management tools," recommends Roger Cox. Cox also noted that "interoperability must be driven by the end user." He said looking at it from a user perspective, he would not buy anything from a vendor that was not willing to share APIs.

    More on interoperability:

  • Storage Decisions 2001: Interoperability is up to end users

  • Lagging software interoperability challenges SAN growth, say analysts

  • Best Web Links on storage standards


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