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A Consumer's Eye on the Enterprise

There's more happening than appearances by Billy Bob Thornton, ZZ Top, and Slash at the Consumer Electronics Show 2007 in Las Vegas this week. For the first time, storage is playing a noticeable role in the form of products for home users that just might end up in your data center.

We're not just talking about devices to help consumers save video and music files. (See Verbatim Enhances USB Drives and Seagate Targets Digital Content.) Those are legion this year, but we're mainly referring to the unveiling of the world's first 1-Tbyte disk drive, introduction of a new technique for securing optical disks, and announcements of storage systems aimed at Internet connectivity and digital content.

The technically hip don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. The innovations unveiled this week, if they work well with consumers, are going to work just as well in enterprise storage networks. (See Storage for the Consumer.)

In fact, the only reason they'll appear first in consumer gear is that product vendors in that segment are faster implementers. So says Doug Pickford, director of product strategy at Hitachi Global Storage Technology (HGST), who says the new SATA drives will debut in DVD recorders, then in storage systems and servers. (See Short Ride to 1-Tbyte Drives.) In contrast, Seagate spokesman Michael Hall says his company will ship 1-Tbyte desktop, enterprise, and consumer drives all together during the middle of 2007.

Meanwhile, storage gear for networked home devices is on display at CES in the form of the Zetera's Z3, a little IP SAN based on a non-standard implementation of data-over-UDP. According to Zetera's VP of partner development Ryan Malone, the enterprise is a natural extension; it's a matter of working one's way "up the food chain."

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