Storage

Storage: What’s New or Déjà Vu?

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Before examining what’s new for zStorage and storage in general, let’s quickly review what has transpired over the past year in the storage and data infrastructure industries. As to be expected, some storage trends can be fairly predictable and consistent (e.g., more capacity, performance, price changes, features, etc.). To see what has changed and what’s the same, see the article “zStorage Industry Update and Trends,” which appeared in the February/ March 2006 issue of z/Journal.

The Year in Review

The past year, like the prior year, was full of Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) activity (see Figure 1) and saw many Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), including:

  • Commvault, which offers backup and data protection software
  • Riverbed, which offers Wide Area File Services (WAFS), Wide Area Data Management (WADM), Wide Area Network (WAN), and WAN optimization
  • Isilon, which offers Network-Attached Storage (NAS)
  • EMC, which announced plans to offer about 10 percent of its wholly owned subsidiary VMware for an IPO.

So far, several other vendors are lined up for possible IPOs in 2007. However, 2006 storage-related IPOs were dominated by vendors that hadn’t yet reached profitability; this could be a sign of pent-up demand for technology stocks or effective marketing by the newly publicly traded companies.

New and Emerging Trends

Storage capacity utilization tools have long been an Achilles’ heel in the open systems world compared to mainframe environments. However, they’re starting to appear and evolve from first-generation configuration reporting and management tools. While the emphasis continues to be on storage space capacity utilization, some companies are starting to look at and address open systems storage performance, configuration, and availability reporting.

Emphasis is being put on cross-technology domain and total Infrastructure Resource Management (IRM), including reporting and event correlation analysis. These IRM tools address performance, capacity, availability, and data protection management. Companies to keep an eye on include Akori, Aptare, BMC, EMC, HyperIO, HP, IBM, Illuminator, IntelliMagic, Monosphere, Network General, NovusCG, Onaro, Ortera, Symantec, Tek-Tools, Teracloud and WysDM, among others,

Data security received much customer attention and adoption over the past year. While the actual number of magnetic tapes being lost is decreasing, the harsh reality is that more incidents of lost tapes are being reported. There’s a growing movement to implement encryption of magnetic tapes using host software, backup software, network or appliances, tape library, or tape drive-based encryption.

Protection of data at rest is another area of focus, including array-based (for example, Fujitsu) and emerging disk drive-based encryption, and heterogeneous key management. Encryption isn’t the only security topic, as leading storage vendors are now deploying tamper- proof audit and activity logs and enhanced authentication and access authorization. Secure file and document shredding, file, volume and disk erasure also have been garnering attention. Other vendors involved with storage-related encryption and security technologies for storage include BitArmor, Innovation Data Processing, Cipheroptics, Decru (NetApp) and NeoScale, among others.

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