Although we saw a number of interesting storage hardware products during the past year, the space to watch is clearly storage management software.
In fact, the biggest problem in the storage world—still—is not performance or capacity but management. And that goes for all levels of storage, not just in the enterprise.
Moving forward, we expect to see vendors not only creating more intelligent tools for manipulating and monitoring storage but also blending tools in a seamless fashion to ease the management burden. EMC Corp., for example, blends device management, virtualization and storage area network management into its Control Center management suite, and Fujitsu Software Technology Corp.s Softek Storage Manager blends virtualization, automation and supplier relationship management.
Complicating matters are regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that are forcing IT managers not only to manage data but also to keep it secure and quickly recoverable in case of disaster.
With these requirements in mind, we expect to see more storage management solutions offering WORM (write once, read many) functionality to preserve data and a greater emphasis on data migration tools. The latter will help administrators move rarely used data off expensive, high-performance storage and onto inexpensive storage devices such as tape and ATA RAID arrays.