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SNW: Reporter's notebook

IDC says storage growth to level off; polls show users still searching for SRM; and startups vs. big companies.

IDC says overall storage growth to level off

In industry overview sessions at Storage Networking World (SNW), analysts from IDC predicted that storage growth will level off this decade. By 2009, according to the presentations, storage will have leaped 60% in capacity since 2001, but annual growth rate will hold static.

According to a presentation by IDC analyst Eric Shepard, the market for storage in Europe has consistently lagged behind the U.S. and will continue to do so. Shepard predicted that European companies that had not already switched to networked storage from DAS systems were unlikely to do so.

Meanwhile, vertical markets analyst Daniel Corsetti detailed three new verticals attracting attention from storage vendors, including finance, manufacturing and healthcare. As a result, Corsetti said, vendors are changing their approach to marketing, with up to 50% combining application-specific sales pitches with product-oriented messages.

According to Corsetti, healthcare has the highest growth rate of 7.5% per year, the biggest of what IDC identifies as the top 10 vertical markets. However, budgets in healthcare are extremely limited compared to the other high-growth verticals, particularly the financial and manufacturing sectors.

IDC's presentations to SNW attendees Monday were overtly vendor directed, with the stated objective of several talks being a "how to" for vendors to take advantage of market opportunities. In particular, a lecture delivered by IDC's Raymond Boggs and Doug Chandler detailed the "goldmine" of the small and midsized business (SMB) market.

"This is where the money is," Boggs enthused during his portion of the talk, before outlining the "extraction model" [Ed note: nice lingo] best suited to approaching SMBs.

Polls show users still searching for SRM

The quixotic quest for adequate storage resource management (SRM) tools was a hot topic during industry conferences last year, but a poll of users at a keynote talk showed the largest portion, 36%, identified finding an SRM tool as their top priority of project. Twenty-seven percent identified "information lifecycle management" (ILM) as their priority, 26% said virtualization and 10% picked reducing complexity. Thirty-five percent of the audience, in a subsequent question, said that "better SRM or SAN management tools" were the best way to solve complexity in their systems. Twenty percent said virtualization was the answer, while another 20% said it wasn't an issue at all.

Sun says Titanium enjoying success

Sun Microsystem Inc.'s Titanium 10,000 tape drive has begun shipping, and Sun's Data Management Group vice president of tape business, Nigel Dessau, says it has already reached its first-quarter goal of 500 units shipped to an estimated 50 to 60 customers. Dessau said Sun expects to ship several thousand of the 1 terabyte tape units within a year. Sun has already done much of the engineering on Gen 2 of the product, which will double the speed and capacity, and is beginning design work on Gen 3 already. According to Nigel, developing the high-capacity tapes, which in Gen 3 could hold several terabytes on one cartridge, involves reworking the chemical composition of the media.

Dessau also said that Sun/StorageTek would have big announcements May 2; Sun traditionally does large product announcements on a semiquarterly basis. This time, Dessau said, the newest announcement would be StorageTek's "coming out party" as a Sun subsidiary, with a "new vision of how its stuff will be connected together with Sun products." Stay tuned.

Startup vs. big company, in terms of chicken

During the endless briefings going on in the press room, a marketer who shall remain nameless (as will his current company, a startup) was surprisingly candid about why he prefers working for startups rather than the 800-pound gorillas, in particular Fujitsu.

"If Fujitsu bought KFC [Kentucky Fried Chicken]," he said, "they'd change the slogan from 'finger-lickin' good' to 'hot dead chicken'. It's just the way they think."

We here at won't be forgetting the phrase "hot dead chicken" any time soon.

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