Surge in Storage on the Way

Plethora of products due at N+I from vendors Emulex, Cisco, IBM, others.

The growing number of vendors rolling out storage products are trying to fill niches not being addressed by larger vendors such as EMC Corp. But many are still testing the waters to see what users are looking for. The result is a flood of products for IT managers to choose from.

The latest offerings include a wide range of niche storage products that will be on display next week at the NetWorld+Interop show in Atlanta.

In hardware, Storage Technologies Corp.—better known as StorageTek—will announce an expansion of its tape library products, making the L700e unit available with pass-through ports, so two units can be linked.

Officials with the Louisville, Ky., company said daisy-chained systems, holding 1,400 tapes, will fill a void between their 700-cartridge library and the high-end 6,000-cartridge device. The new version of the L700 will be available early next year and will cost about $90,000.

While the new library sounds useful, one StorageTek customer said it doesnt solve the problem of needing multiple devices for midrange servers and mainframe servers. "What I would like to see would be a library that would be connected from both environments," said Richard Binger, manager of production services at Minnesota Life Insurance Co.

Meanwhile, Cenatek Inc. will officially launch its RAM-based bootable PCI Card drive, called the Rocket Drive. The drive will be available from the Morgan Hill, Calif., company this month and will cost about $3,000.

In management software, FalconStor Inc., of Melville, N.Y., will announce Version 2.0 of its flagship IPStor software. New features include Solaris support, Fibre Channel host connectivity, on-demand capacity and a database snapshot agent. Officials said changes are coming to the pricing model as well, although details were not announced.

CreekPath Systems Inc., of Longmont, Calif., will announce details of its migration from being a service provider to selling software directly. The new unnamed software will be available early next year and will suggest actions to ensure service levels, automate those actions and automate provisioning based on them.

Anna Shamarock, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., said companies will continue to seek a footing in the market but eventually some will go away.

"There are many niches you can jump on the bandwagon of, but I expect [the market] will consolidate as well," said Shamarock, in Boulder, Colo. "I think weve got a few more years of broadening" before consolidation happens.

Specific technologies mean different things to different vendors, said Binger, in St. Paul. "I think thats why youre seeing the trend youre seeing," he said.