The Top Storage Trends at Midyear

With 2008 half over, we look at the hottest storage trends

June 19, 2008

3 Min Read
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With the year at the halfway mark, what better time to revisit the top trends in storage networking?

Yes, we know: Normally, we undertake our "official" look at top trends in December. But this year is different. With the economy in flux and budgets tightened, it's helpful to take the pulse of the industry as often as possible. After all, that's what the bosses in the corner office are doing, right?

The half-year mark (or thereabouts) is auspicious for this exercise, since there's been time for earlier predictions to gel -- or liquefy. There have also been a few conferences and tradeshows that prompt big announcements.

So what's hot in storage right now? Here's a list, gleaned strictly from editorial observation:

Green IT. Storage arrays that require less space, power, and cooling are the rage and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Reducing the resource footprint isn't just politically correct -- it's a fact of survival, given the spiraling costs of fossil-fuel reliance and the environmental mandates around emissions control. IDC, for instance, puts power and cooling at over $1 billion annually.The green trend has many facets when it comes to storage: Nearly every suggested improvement, including MAID, thin provisioning, de-duplication, and so on, is tinged with green. Whether it's general industry discussion or pundit prognostication, anything that saves resources is "in."

Virtualization. There's a growing trend toward the use of server virtualization in storage applications like disaster recovery and replication. While alternatives for storage virtualization remain diverse and relatively complex, there is also movement on that score. Given that virtualization goes hand-in-glove with resource savings, expect more in this vein.

De-Duplication. This is hands-down one of the most active areas of storage networking. It's also one of the most emotionally charged, with vendors, analysts, and passersby weighing in contentiously at every turn. Since de-dupe makes for savings, we see no cooling-off in sight.

Solid-state disks. Suppliers are starting to promote solid state disk as key to better performance of disk-based storage in the future. EMC, FalconStor, NetApp, and Sun have products and strategies in place. Solid state storage is predicted to be a factor in doubling the number of disk storage systems annually through 2012.

Services. Whether it's hosted storage, e-discovery, or online backup, storage-related services are on the rise. With suppliers like EMC and IBM building cloud-based infrastructures to provide more SaaS, users will face more decision making over the next few months.So there you have it. Hardly a comprehensive list of trends, but we think it hits the general mark. Indeed, given the record so far, the top trends for 2008 could probably be described in two phrases: consolidation and cost savings. If it doesn't fit under one of those headings, it's strictly secondary.

What about you? Do you agree, disagree, or have other trends to add? Hit that message board, or write to us anytime.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • IDC

  • NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Sun Microsystems Inc.

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