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Top 10 storage stories of 2004

Here's a list of the news we think made the most impact this year. Let us know if we missed anything.

1. Symantec buys Veritas
Symantec's $13 billion acquisition of Veritas took us all by surprise and will take a while to digest, but the upshot is clear for users: Standby for major product changes.
Is a Symantec-Veritas merger good for users?
Veritas users fear rocky roadmap
Rivals respond to the deal

2. Virtualization is real after all
After three years of hype, storage virtualization finally appears in real, cost-effective products. DataCore Software Corp., FalconStor Software Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have offered working storage virtualization as part of their offerings for some time. But overall, the market has been slow, and the major vendors have been reluctant to take part -- until now.
IBM SAN Volume Controller
IBM, Cisco spruce up SVC
HDS unveils TagmaStore with in-band virtualization
EMC Storage Router will eventually provide virtualization

3. Backup gets interesting
The introduction of virtual tape libraries, disk-to-disk backup, continuous data protection, and application specific archiving have made backup and restore jobs faster, less of a chore and sexy again!
Tech report: Virtual tape libraries
Virtual tape libraries: Buyers beware
Fast Guide: Disk-based backup
Continuous backup gains traction
Archiving project saves Motorola big bucks

4. Cheap disk
Serial ATA drives cost less than a quarter of the price of Fibre Channel drives on a $/GB basis, and not only that, you can buy them from your local computer retailer.
Learning Guide: Low-cost storage
Serial ATA adoption ramping up
Industry debates the role of SATA drives
User dumps Fibre Channel for ATA

5. HP misses the boat
HP's storage business lost market share and revenue this year, which CEO Carly Fiorina attempted to correct by firing a few key executives and making an appearance at the company's storage user show. Will it be enough?
HP storage sales tank
HP storage: What went wrong?
HP users burned by EMC court victory

6. Centera takes compliance by storm
Compliance was a major theme in 2004, and EMC cashed in on it big time. With the only shipping product for several months, EMC clocked up over 1,000 users and shipped more than 30 petabytes (30,000 terabytes) since the introduction of its Centera product in April 2002. Centera is not trouble free, however; many users have talked to about performance concerns with the product.
EMC, Sun tout compliance wares
EMC dodges question on Centera performance
EMC improves Centera software integration with secret acquisition
Security flaw could put EMC Centera users at risk

7. IBM and HDS unveil big iron
This fall, IBM and Hitachi Data Systems unveiled new high-end arrays that crushed the speeds and feeds of their previous generations, and everything else on the market for that matter.
IBM debuts DS6000 and DS8000
HDS unveils Lightning 3 – TagmaStore
TagmaStore: Users swoon, competitors say no sweat

8. FC industry ditches 10 Gbps and adopts 4 Gbps
Somewhat unexpectedly, the Fibre Channel industry snuck in another speed this year, moving from 2 Gbps to 4 Gbps almost over night. The original plan was to go straight to 10 Gbps, but this is expected to be a forklift upgrade when it eventually happens, and very expensive -- unlike 4 Gbps, which is completely backwards compatible with 2 Gbps. The incremental speed allows the industry to sell more gear, stalling any chance of users switching vendors or networking protocols (to 10 Gbps Ethernet, for example) when they eventually upgrade to 10 Gbps.
All aboard the 4 GB Fibre Channel bandwagon
4 Gbps FC: Why bother?

9. Microsoft resupports NAS for Exchange
After two years of not being able to use Exchange with NAS, users finally get a fix from Microsoft. Changes Microsoft made to Exchange after Version 5.5 to enhance performance also had the unintended consequence of rendering it unusable with NAS. In April, Microsoft released an update to Exchange that fixed part of the problem: Exchange's need to write directly to local or SAN storage, bypassing the file system.
Microsoft chases NAS tail
What NAS can do for Microsoft Exchange
Exchange and NAS on again

10. Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group
We wanted to give Steve a nod, for holding on to his lead as the most outspoken man in storage. Nice job Steve. Here's a classic Duplessie quote taken from a piece he wrote on Onaro Inc.'s product called SANscreen.

"If you are part of the real world of chaotic storage environments, you'll find SANscreen may literally change your life."

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