Henry Baltazar

By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2002-11-18 Print this article Print


Storage management software will remain in focus throughout the coming year, which is good news for beleaguered hardware vendors.

As in the recent past, the words "convergence" and "interoperability" will be the focus of many new technologies and initiatives that originate in the coming year.

With ratification of iSCSI nearing, IP and Fibre Channel will soon officially converge-at least in the eyes of standards bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Storage devices running on pre-ratified iSCSI code have been around for more than a year now-with the most visible example being the Cisco Systems Inc. SN5428 storage router. The Cisco router demonstrates whats good (low cost) and bad (relatively slow performance) about iSCSI products.

The SN5428 isnt the only iSCSI product on the market. Nishan Systems Inc.s IPS 3000 Multiprotocol Storage Switch is another option, and we expect more products to become available next year. The speed gap, however, will persist.

IP offload adapters, such as Alacritech Inc.s Alacritech 1000x1 Single Port Server and Storage Accelerator, help boost the performance of iSCSI implementations but also boost the cost of implementing iSCSI. As more products enter the market next year and the powerful IP offload technology becomes more commonplace, we predict the prices of these adapters will go down.

On the interoperability front, storage management software will remain in focus throughout the coming year, which is good news for the beleaguered hardware vendors that have been hammered in recent years for the subpar interoperability of Fibre Channel hardware.

Interoperability initiatives including EMC Corp.s WideSky and Hitachi Data Systems Corp.s TrueNorth aim to make it possible to manage heterogeneous storage systems from a single management platform, but it will take a few years for these efforts to become successful.

On the standards front, emerging specifications such as Common Information Model are ramping up to enable industrywide interoperability of storage management. We expect this to be a major issue in years to come, but the emergence of these technology indicatives will be a relief to IT managers who have been demanding management interoperability for several years now.


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