ANALYST: Henry Baltazar MOST IMPRESSIVE: Apples Xserve successfully blends the power of Unix with the usability of Mac OS X 10.2 into a neat little 1U (1.75-inch) server. Apple was late to the server market, but it used the time wisely, making design choices that other vendors shied away from. One example is Apples embrace of ATA-based hard drives, which not only lower storage costs but also allow higher storage densities per disk than the SCSI disks usually found in servers.MOST USEFUL: In tests designed to develop a high-speed backup infrastructure (2 terabytes backed up in less than 1 hour)working with Veritas using its NetBackup software and StorageTek hardwareI learned that a steep technology curve must be climbed to create large-scale backups within acceptable downtime windows. SLIPPING OFF THE RADAR: InfiniBand lost momentum during the past few years, as server vendors focused most of their development efforts on the blade server market. Expect to see InfiniBand in the supercomputing and clustering markets, but predictions of the technology dominating the server world should not be made for several years, if ever. YEARS BIGGEST TECH STORY: The volatile mix of government and security was a hot topic again this year. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what types of laws are passed to ensure the protection of government data and how future laws may affect how we manage IT infrastructures. WHAT TO WATCH IN 2003: 10 Gigabit Ethernet was one of my technologies to watch from last year. Things will only get more eventful for the technology in 2003, as more products designed to take advantage of it are released. 10 Gigabit Ethernet will be used primarily to link switches, but as IP storage solutions continue to improve, expect storage vendors to take advantage of this speedy networking technology. LEVEL OF PRESCIENCE LAST YEAR: I wrote a column last year on the potential benefits of ATA RAIDs. More products have emerged in the disk-to-disk backup space since then, but so far only one server vendorApplehas pushed this technology choice. Expect to see more products in 2003 in the near-line and archival storage market, while ATA solutions continue to chip away at SCSIs low-end market space.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Despite much hype and a sizable amount of industry support, the Itanium 2 didnt make major waves in 2002. I expect things to turn around somewhat for Intels 64-bit processor in 2003, with the release of Windows .Net and applications that will take advantage of the Itanium platform. The Itanium 2 did squeeze into the scientific computing market, together with Linux, but so far it has not garnered a significant amount of market share.