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It's a Small (Storage) World

I've just returned from a 10-day business tour of Brazil and Argentina, on the heels of an equally lengthy sojourn to Australia. These trips made two things crystal clear. First, companies abroad feel the same pain we do when it comes to storage provisioning, data protection and total cost of ownership. Second, enormous momentum is building behind certain technologies, iSCSI prominent among them, to alleviate this pain.

Having spoken with hundreds of IT professionals from Aussie and South American companies large and small, I can tell you storage is the primary bugaboo of IT today. The complaints are familiar. Storage is becoming a principal component of overall IT expenditures at a time when management is cutting costs to the bone. Managing heterogeneous storage is a bear, and Fibre Channel SANs, where they've been deployed at all, mostly haven't helped. Tape backups are increasingly difficult to complete and often don't provide reliable restore.

To make matters worse, many U.S. vendors have reduced their presence in South America and Down Under. With fewer product options available, IT professionals in those locations are often forced to buy the least cost-effective solutions. They get the sense that U.S. vendors consider them too difficult to do business with because of language barriers, import duties and other obstacles.

This perception isn't unfounded. One vendor rep told me he's not interested in South America because of the huge education investment required. Others said they're focusing on China instead--this despite its relatively immature IT market, not to mention the fact that China recently required a multitrillion-dollar bailout of its banking system (orchestrated by private U.S. investors).

Great iSCSI Fit

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