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The year of storage management and interop? Don't bet on it.

Columnist John Weinhoeft shares his storage management predictions for 2003, and explains what may keep storage management and interop from making a big break.

When SearchStorage asked me to write a column about my experiences with storage systems over the past thirty-two years -- they didn't mind if just rambled. So that is what I am going to do, ramble, and hopefully there will be one or two interesting and relevant gems of wisdom you can use.

It's the beginning of a new year and time to look forward to a better economy in 2003. So here are a few predictions I see for the coming months in storage.

Storage really hasn't changed all that much. We are still using tape and disk. Things are just faster and denser today. I think it is safe to predict disk and tape will get faster and denser this year.

Virtualization received a lot of bad press last year, most of it justifiable. It's now ready for prime time. We just need to figure out which product we want to standardize. Will be the year of interoperability? Don't bet on it. Design this year; implement next year.

Clustering will also be a hot technology. This is directly related to the need for true data sharing between multiple systems. To safely share data in update mode, we need file and record locking across disparate platforms. Virtualization will permit data sharing between disparate operating systems. Just be sure to test the locking logic before implementing it on the production systems.

Don't waste time on the fiber channel versus iSCSI discussion. It's all plumbing to hook things together. Each has different characteristics. Use what you need to get the job done. Where it makes sense, consider bridging the two types together with something like the Cisco products.

Mainframe versus open systems doesn't really matter. There is a place for both. Now if we just had the products that covered both from one management console.

This should be storage management's big year but it won't be. Too many products, too few people to install and use the products. Skilled people are in even shorter supply. The poor economy, budget cuts and staff reductions have cut more than the fat. Those of you that still have a job will again be asked to do more with less.

In subsequent columns I will elaborate on these topics and cover other areas of interest, such as self healing automonic systems.

About John Weinhoeft:

For the past 30-plus years John Weinhoeft has had his hand in the computer industry. He recently retired from designing and managing the State of Illinois' centralized computer systems that served 100 agencies. John has authored and edited a number of analytical books published by Computer Technology Research Corporation. He is, or has been, a member of several computer organizations including the Computer Measurement Group and Central Illinois Personal Computer Users Group.

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