Editor's note: Founder and Consulting Analyst of the Taneja Group Arun Taneja peers into his crystal ball and projects what he sees for the next 12 months in storage.
1. Next generation data protection gets into high gear
Many evaluations would occur in the first half, many implementations in the second half. These will be infrastructure changes of the type that has not happened in this segment in 20 years
2. The market starts to move in the positive direction
Storage purchases are initially triggered by regulatory requirements, then by increased business activity.
3. ILM shows its true colors
Customers see ILM for what it is: Using the right platforms to process, move and protect data, based upon its value to the company. Vendors that sell ILM as a product suffer the same fate as the virtualization players did in 2002.
4. Industry consolidation continues
Many acquisitions will occur, may be an IPO or two towards the end of the year. The industry consolidation is already in high gear (look at the purchases of Documentum, Legato, VM Ware, Sanera, Nishan, Spinnaker) as we finish up 2003.
The valuations are increasing, signaling a robust year for startups that have been receiving traction. Others will fade in 2004. I consider 2004 as the cleansing year. We will have a lot more clarity at the end of it.
The IP SAN companies will separate between winners and losers. Some will get acquired by larger companies. Eventually I believe most IP SAN gear will be sold by the big guys (Dell, HP, IBM, HP and maybe even Sun) so the startups will either get customer traction and be scooped up or die.
Same sort of cleansing will happen to the data protection players -- there are too many of them. Since 2004 would be the first year of selling for most of them, they might all survive 2004 but their fate would have been decided by the end of year. Get revenues or go bust.
All in all, I think 2004 should be very positive for the storage industry, customers and vendors alike. Barring some horrible political event, of course, as no one can predict the impact of that.