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2002: Pundits predict storage futures

Predictions were flying fast and furious between our editors, our searchStorage experts, and other industry analysts. We tried to condense them into some digestible highlights -- meant especially for those in audience suffering from information overload.

Predictions were flying fast and furious between our editors, our searchStorage experts, and other industry analysts. Here's our effort to condense them all into digestible highlights.

After we took our own pass at 2002 predictions for most things IT and storage (see our main predictions story) -- we thought we'd turn the spotlight on other capable storage experts. We started with many of our own searchStorage "Ask the Expert" panelists. We also sampled predictions from other industry experts we've come across in the past six months, including those from the likes of Gartner Group's Nick Allen at last September's Storage Decisions conference, and those from RBC Capital Markets' analysts in their recent System Area Networks report.

(As you read through these predictions, you may not always agree with the assumptions. You might even have your own list. If so, please   --> --> .eQTLagCpdaS^2@.ee83ce5/362!viewtype=convdate&skip=&expand=>reply to my post in our Sound Off discussion forum and we'll do our best to reflect the comments from our audience in a future update.)

Prediction highlights from our Ask the Experts panel

We gave our experts some basic instructions for this assignment: Share your top 3-5 storage predictions or trends subscribers should watch in 2002. We then left it up to them whether to focus on only their searchStorage area of expertise, or on other, more general storage topics of interest.

Either way, we're sure you'll enjoy what they have to share from their own work in the trenches.

  • Randy Kerns, Expert Category: Storage Networking: NAS. Randy focused on all things NAS in his predictions. Some buzz words that cropped up: DAFS and VI, NAS combined with TCP/IP offload engines; SAN/NAS convergence along with (surprise!) more SAN/NAS marketplace confusion. See Randy's predictions.

    Randy will also be providing more insight on these trends later this month as part of our new weekly expert e-mail series, The Storage Experts, which begins this Thursday, January 10, 2002. (Register now to receive The Storage Experts' with its vendor-independent analyses and commentaries from storage industry veterans like Randy Kerns and the Evaluator Group, authors Marc Farley and Jon William Toigo, along with input from searchStorage's own panel of experts and guest columnists.)

  • Christopher Poelker, Expert Category: Storage Networking: SANs. Chris Poelker chose three areas to watch in 2002: the management wars, virtualization standards and protocol wars led by iSCSI and the dueling duo of iFCP and FCIP. Who is the take-home winner Chris picks for this FCP alphabet soup? Find out in the first of Chris' three-part predictions from his own personal crystal ball.
  • Vijay Ahuja, Expert Category: Storage Security. Vijay gave us a healthy dose of general storage and storage security predictions. It seems like virtualization and iSCSI are on the minds of most of our experts these days (and the minds of our readers, no doubt!). Vijay shares his own brand of wisdom here, along with positive nod toward Fibre Channel security improvements. Computer virus sleuths should take note of his warnings of more serious denial of service attacks also waiting in the wings for unsuspecting IT staffers. For details, see Vijay's complete predictions.

Prediction highlights from other industry analysts and experts

We went surfing around our searchStorage archives for the last half of 2001 to find out what other industry veterans had to say about the future of storage. Here are a few more highlights of their predictions along with links to the related story.

  • Nick Allen, Gartner Inc. vice president and research director, at September's Storage Decisions conference. Allen told attendees that big management and organizational changes were going to have to occur in conjunction with what Allen sees as the convergence (collision?) of the previously dispersed IT storage and networking worlds. Enter the aptly coined "storage engineer" to save the day. See assistant news editor Kevin Komiega's coverage of Allen's keynote for more of Allen's storage predictions. Then, view the Webcast highlights from Allen's actual session.
  • Thomas Curlin, Robert Montague and Steve Denegri, principals and senior analysts at RBC Capital Markets. RBC Capital Markets prepared a comprehensive 700+ page report a few months back on System Area Networks. Some of the investment banking research firm's take-away storage predictions in the report included the view that Fibre Channel will survive and prosper, iSCSI still faces some hurdles but will ultimately succeed, and 10-Gigabit issues may persist until the bandwidth bottlenecks are addressed. See the related story from searchStorage's SAN/NAS trends writer, Alan Earls, for more of the firm's predictions.
  • Analyst insights from the Enterprise Storage Group and the Aberdeen Group. Writer Alan Earls has been busy picking the brains of several of these busy storage analysts in his recent stream of SAN/NAS Update trends stories over the past several months. If you want to know what the analysts are saying about such moves as the latest industry acquisitions, venture capital funding, virtualization and storage management, take some time to scan our archives.
  • The Evaluator Group recent insights. Partners and principals at the Evaluator Group have been busy sharing their comments about the latest product vendor announcements to hit the streets. They spotlighted recent partnership agreements between EMC and Compaq, indicating this type of agreement is one of many that EMC will need to foster with other key vendors in order to succeed in future. They also provided much more input on the significance of other partnerships between IBM and Datacore, commented on IBM and Compaq announcements and described the importance of recent InfiniBand demos performed by LSI Logic. Future commentaries from the Evaluator Group will be e-mailed in our new weekly series, The Storage Experts. To scan past issues from the Evaluator Group about where the above vendors and technologies are headed, see the "Storage Evaluator" link within the following searchStorage tips archive: The Storage Experts.
  • Storage Decisions conference coverage offers more views on the future from industry leaders. Want to know what IBM's Linda Sanford told searchStorage recently about where IBM is headed with storage. Would you like to hear what EMC's Joe Tucci told us recently about the company and its mission? How about Network Appliance's Dan Warmenhoven or Peter Bell from Storage Networks? You also won't want to miss the great disaster recovery/backup tips for future safety offered by many of our Storage Decisions conference speakers, such as Comdisco's Damian Walch. See our Storage Decisions 2001 Featured Topic for all of the above content links.
  • And because we just can't list them all here... We'd also like to point you to our previous Featured Topic on the Future of Storage, where you'll find many more stories and expert answers on where folks think storage is headed and how best to navigate your way through the maze.

Enjoy your journey through these predictions and remember. We want to hear from you, too.

About the author: Michele Hope is the senior site editor for She can be reached at

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