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Storage Outlook '07: Seeking better backups and archives

Tom Becchetti, senior infrastructure engineer for a major national financial services company, says compliance, backup and archiving will be top priorities in 2007.

Tom Becchetti manages just under 100 terabytes (TB) of storage, plus mainframe systems, in a largely EMC Corp. shop (both DMX and Clariion), for a major national financial services company located in Minneapolis. In this Q & A, he talks to about his challenges for 2007, which will mostly focus not only on managing primary data but also on getting a handle on secondary data -- backups and archives, all of it with a view on compliance.

What's your most important storage project for 2007?

Tom Becchetti: I look at the issues around compliance/Archive/ILM in 2007 as being the most important for us to deal with. In 2006, we did some basic archiving -- flat file archiving for historical purposes, nothing really content driven. Nothing too fancy where you have to report on different fields within files or anything like that, just using normal backup products' archive functions.

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But I'm still looking for more robust integration in tools so that you can really do lifecycle management and reporting capabilities across the board. It might take a big change to file system structure and almost a whole paradigm shift to really do this well -- hopefully we'll start seeing people thinking and talking about how data is kept in general and stored this year.

It may be something as simple as the standard CAS interface really getting a good foothold and everyone accepting it, writing to it and building on it, that might be sufficient … something tells me it won't be, that it won't perform well enough. But it's starting to become critical [to find an answer] because file systems were never intended to grow to the extent that people are using them.

What do you hope WON'T happen in 2007?

Becchetti: I hope that backup products don't get more complex. As it is, open systems backups are overly complicated and expensive.

Care to elaborate?

Becchetti: Here's my concern: Veritas [Symantec] bought CDP [Revivio]. I'm hoping it gets integrated into the product, not added on as a separate entity. By integrated, I mean part of the same basic architecture -- not an add-on thing where you see a button on the main screen to launch the tool and then the whole thing works completely differently.

What do you predict will happen in the storage market in general in 2007? What technologies will be the most important?

Becchetti: More products using SAS and InfiniBand technology (SAS may be used to help the power issues in the data centers). Products based on or around iSCSI. Major backup vendors will announce or possibly release versions or add-ons that will integrate CDP more seamlessly to their base products. Better CDP products. Better personal/home storage products.

What storage technologies are you evaluating for 2007? What looks interesting to you?

Becchetti: I will be evaluating what I consider nonenterprise class storage subsystems. I will be looking at products that support true thin provisioning and have a full suite of application software and are less expensive than a mainframe-attachable storage subsystem. I will also be looking at storage virtualization. Many of the virtualization products are ready for the enterprise and strategically deployed can be an excellent tool for many environments.

For Tier-2?

Becchetti: Yes.

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