Lewis: I was on a panel yesterday, and I heard both extremes. Gartner was saying that iSCSI will really be here in 2004, potentially 2005, while Cisco is saying "ready for prime time in Q3" of this year. Obviously, Cisco has a lot more bet on iSCSI than Gartner. While I think that Gartner may be a tad conservative, I think they may be closer to right than Cisco. My expectation is that iSCSI will have some limited market applications, particularly in the area of data replication, initially. It will be the latter part of next year at least before we start to see any significant traction in that area. Then 2003, 2004, where products start to get real traction in that area.
You can use history to predict the future. I remember in 1995 and 96 when I heard all of these same things about Fibre Channel, but it took us three or four more years to really get momentum in the marketplace, all the standards set out, and all the pieces together.
Byte and Switch: With the impact of optical networking advances, storage networks are being extended over metro- and wide-area networks. What sort of demand are you seeing from Compaq customers for metro- or wide-area storage networks?
Lewis: It is becoming a strong market, especially in terms of data replication. We don't see a large number of customers that are putting all their storage offsite, or some extreme distance from their servers. But, we do see a lot of customers who want to replicate their storage, using DWDM, metro, and even wide-area ATM connectivity. So, bandwidth will definitely help to continue to fuel actual storage consumption.
Byte and Switch: Do you have an estimate of how much of the market will shift to metro or wide-area?
Lewis: I don't see it as so much of a shift. They are still going to have their base site being local for the most part. But in a year from now a small percentage -- single-digit percentages -- of people will be replicating their data for disaster tolerance. I think we'll see a huge uptick there -- close to a third of the enterprise folks wanting to have some site-level disaster-tolerant data protection. A third may be low.