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2003 networking A to Z predictions: Software clarification and virtual SANs -- Part 2

Storage networking expert Marc Farley presents his 2003 predictions. We asked our site experts once again to take out their crystal ball and share with you their predictions not only in their area of expertise but for the storage market in general for the upcoming year 2003.

Click here for Part 1

Software clarification for managers and administrators

Storage software should clarify in 2003. For starters, Linux grows in importance during 2003 as system administrators find ways to build more powerful, more reliable systems with fast Intel processors. This opens the door for companies like Sistina and PolyServe to make progress with their new distributed file system technologies. Both of these companies are likely to be acquisition targets by the end of the year as the rest of the industry figures out how important file systems are in the hierarchy of network storage.

SAN management software will have a watershed year. 25% of the companies developing storage management software today will be gone by the end of the year -- either by attrition or by acquisition. There is more activity in this area than the market can bear right now. Provisioning solutions from companies such as Invio and InterSAN will show whether or not their technology is ready for prime time in 2003.

One of my favorite products in the industry right now is Netreon?s SAN Designer, which can be used to model and plan SAN installation. 2003 will prove whether others see the same potential in this technology that I do. If so, it will likely become a key part of another company?s software stable by the end of the year.

Backup software developer Commvault will emerge as the hottest software company in 2003 as the interest around Windows in storage networks picks up. The most interesting financial maneuverings of the year will surround either a Commvault IPO or their acquisition by Microsoft. Rumors have been flying, but the company appears to be keeping its nose to the grindstone and continues to execute proficiently.

Entrepreneurs will take advantage of storage integration opportunities

The biggest question 2003 is the availability of a competent and inspired sales channel, beyond the usual system and storage OEM suspects. Dell is already shaping up to be a major force in the Windows and Linux worlds through their partnership with EMC. But Dell will have a hard time providing the integration support that is needed. For that reason, we will start to see entrepreneurs turning to storage integration opportunities to take advantage of the high margin, high volume opportunities provided by the likes of Cisco and Microsoft.

Editor's note: Do you agree with this expert's response? If you have more to share, post it in one of our .bphAaR2qhqA^0@/searchstorage>discussion forums.

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