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Adventures in Storageland

Entering the world of storage means learning a new language and many other things

A little over a month ago I was given the opportunity to join Byte and Switch and dive deep into the world of storage. As a news editor at InformationWeek and InformationWeek.com for many years, I had learned a lot about technology and thought I knew something about storage. There were disks and tapes and direct-attached storage, network-attached storage and storage-area networks. What else was there to know?

Stop laughing.

I quickly discovered that I knew almost nothing. I learned that storage is a complicated technology with many moving parts that plays a crucial role in every aspect of business and technology. I found a fast-paced world filled with innovation, one with new technologies and strategies and a steady stream of new companies springing up almost daily. I had entered a world with its own language and culture and people.

I felt like I had parachuted into a foreign land, and the first thing a newcomer has to do in a new country is learn the language -- which was harder than I thought. Fortunately, I arrived at the height of storage tradeshow season (VMworld, Interop, Storage Decisions and Storage Networking World) and scores of vendors wanted to brief me on the new storage systems and software and services they were about to introduce. Thanks to all of you who took the time to explain the basics of storage to me. It was a great help. I ended up taking a crash course in storage as I attempted to learn what technologies are important, which companies are influential, which trends matter, and what were the biggest challenges facing storage managers.

So, what have I learned?

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