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Lots of Changes, But Top Storage Vendor Lineup To Remain Intact

Having taken a closer look at networking and servers, NETWORK COMPUTING's four-part series on the changes transforming the data center now focuses on storage. With most data centers doubling storage capacity every two to three years, while budgets are only increasing in single digits, doing more with less is essential. Couple this data explosion with the changes sweeping the data center, and the major data center vendors--HP, IBM, Oracle, Dell and Cisco--have been kept very busy.

HP paid a stiff premium, doubling Dell's original (and accepted) offer to buy 3PAR, but it is expected that its broad storage channel will help it quickly recoup that investment. IBM expanded its storage portfolio a few months ago with products and services including the Storwize V7000, a 2U rack-based disk system with enterprise-class performance packaged for the midmarket, and the DS8800 disk system, which offers 40 percent better performance over its predecessor.

Network Computing Special Report: How Cisco Is Changing The Datacenter
Part 1 - Throwing Bandwidth At Your Network Problems Isn't Enough
Part 2 - Cisco Faces Uphill Battle Selling Data Center Servers
Part 4 - Data Centers: Who's On First?
Part 5 - Data-Center Diversity Drives IT Agendas

Oracle, which got into the storage business with its Sun acquisition, was the only top-eight storage vendor to lose market share in 2010. Among the reasons for its decline was the cancellation of the Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) relationship, leaving the company without a high-end offering.

Dell, which rode EMC's coattails to become a major storage reseller, is transforming itself into a storage company. In addition to its acquisitions of Compellent ($960 million, completed in February) and Ocarina Networks (a provider of data compression and deduplication software, completed in July 2010), the company paid $1.4 billion for storage-area network (SAN) hardware vendor EqualLogic in 2008 and $12 million for network-attached storage (NAS) vendor Exanet in February 2010.

While storage is not a Cisco strength, the networking giant did announce enhancements to its Data Center Business Advantage portfolio, including the MDS storage switches, at the end of March. The company says that its new MDS 9000 Storage Media Encryption fabric service offers highly secure media encryption for disks as well as tapes to meet security requirements for regulatory compliance, and requires no SAN reconfiguration.

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