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Gartner offers "SAN Magic"

By Alan Earls

Everyone loves a gimmick. So Gartner decided to map their SAN vendor research to a matrix and give it a fancy name: the SAN Solution Magic Quadrant. But, gimmick or not, the quadrant does provide some clarity and a kind of "instant drill down" through the industry clutter.

More specifically, the quadrant offers a very concise way of viewing the SAN world -- and making decisions about vendors. In essence, the quadrant is an X and Y axis corresponding, respectively, to "completeness of vision" and "ability to execute."

Conveniently, one of the vendors that fared well under Gartner's witchcraft -- Compaq --- has a link to the quadrant and its results for all to see. But, Compaq wasn't the only company to come out looking good. EMC shared the leaders' square while HP and Dell shared the desirable position of "challengers," and StorageTek got the runners up label of "visionary."

Confined to the niche square were IBM, Sun, MTI, and HDS.

Gartner concludes, "We continue to advise users to only buy tested, certified, turnkey SAN solutions as the method of acquiring individual component vendors' products, so as to avoid compatibility, integration and support issues." Additionally, they note, "With the SAN market expected to grow to more than $50 billion by 2003, we expect vendor positions to change."

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About the author: Alan Earls is a freelance writer in Franklin, Mass.

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