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2004 storage management predictions: Management tools proliferate, iSCSI & ILM abound

Brett Cooper offers his predictions for storage management tools, iSCSI and the latest buzzword -- ILM.

1. Storage management tools mesh with enterprise management tools

The line between storage management tools and enterprise management frameworks blur as storage management tool vendors add more features into their products to make them more attractive to potential customers.

I would not be surprised to see Veritas competing head to head with the likes of IBM, HP, and CA on new management products where there once wasn't competition.

A company like Veritas will look to enable management of its competitors products and vice-versa. Imagine if Veritas' SANPoint Control could manage an Oracle Instance and the Data Lifecycle of the Oracle Database (backup job, etc.) or the backup jobs of IBM's Storage Manager.

2. Storage management vendors rush to support new protocols like iSCSI

With the market for Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP) solutions on the decrease vendors will be looking to capture new protocols that enable additional revenue streams at the same time customers are looking for solutions that bring together their distributed enterprise storage requirements from DAS, FCP, and NAS to new protocols like iSCSI. I look to 2004 to be the year of iSCSI.

Many analysts are predicting FCP to take a downward turn in terms of additional sales which means that new protocols like iSCSI will begin to be deployed in mass quantities which in turn means that new management paradigms will be developed bridging together traditional network based management (IP) and storage management.

Many of the key tools in this space already exist, but new partnerships and solutions will need to be brought to market to serve the ever increasing needs of the enterprise storage manager.

3. Storage management vendors will move to integrate a new mantra "Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)" into their solutions

Virtualization and provisioning have become over played during 2003. Customers and analysts alike are now looking for storage management solutions that manage each stage in the life of a given data set, from the provisioning of the base LUN or file, to the backup or snapshot, and finally the archive. These new tools will also take into account the tier of storage and the data protection policy that applies to each type of storage based on the customer's perceived requirements; does the data require platinum, gold, or silver storage? Along with each level the costs for the storage may increase along with the required SLAs. In this way a customer can understand the true costs of the storage and then manage accordingly. The Information Lifecycle Manager or Architect will play a key role in determining the requirements for the placement of data within an organization.

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