eWEEK Selects Its Top 10 Storage Stories of 2009

eWEEK revisits a year in which it published more than 1,200 storage-related news articles and selects 10 that were especially revelatory of the industry in 2009.

Data storage and its surrounding technologies, which some IT people consider rather unexciting, were hardly dull topic sectors in 2009.
The continued explosion in the creation of data worldwide kept the pressure on vendors, users and storage managers alike to store and secure business and personal files, whether they be Word docs, photos, video, audio or structured database content.
eWEEK revisited the year-one in which it published more than 1,200 storage-related news articles-and selected 10 it believes were especially revelatory of the industry in 2009.

In no particular order:
March 16: Cisco Systems Launches Long-Anticipated Unified Computing System
Cisco Systems officially entered the data center systems business this year, with CEO John Chambers comparing the move to previous landmark networking initiatives that had routers developing into switches in 1993 and PBX being followed by VOIP (voice over IP) telephony a few years later.
Rather generically called the Cisco Unified Computing System, the initiative consists of a new data center architecture, a new server, storage from EMC, and a new set of management software and services based on Intel's powerful quad-core "Nehalem" Xeon processors.
April 20: Key to Oracle-Sun Deal: Storage, DB Hardware
Enterprise software giant Oracle has decided it wants to get into the storage and database hardware business, where there is plenty of room for growth, and it shows its belief that Sun Microsystems-with its StorageTek division and ultrafast ZFS storage file system-is the right horse to ride at this time.
Feb. 5: Fusion-io Hires Steve Wozniak as Chief Scientist
Steve Wozniak, co-founder and former chief technologist of Apple Computer, revealed that he is coming out of semiretirement and joining Fusion-io, a storage startup that makes compact NAND flash storage arrays, as its chief scientist.
The Fusion-io ioDrive is the first direct-attached, solid-state server storage array that uses PCIe (PCI-Express) connectivity. The ioDrive is small, barely larger than a typical handheld device, and uses advanced NAND flash chip clustering to perform the same functions as a spinning desk storage array, only with much faster read/write performance and much less power draw.
July 2: FAA Gets Its New Virtualized Flight-Plan System Off the Ground
The FAA, which has suffered a series of embarrassing system crashes during the last several years, has upgraded its 21-year-old legacy flight-plan filing system to a new open-systems server and storage infrastructure supplied by Stratus Technologies. This architecture is now replacing critical systems that directly affect all air travelers in the United States.
Oct. 19: Oracle, Cisco on Path to Challenge IBM, HP in Data Centers
Oracle and Cisco are working on entirely separate but similar tracks in long-term efforts to become full-service systems providers on par with IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Oracle, a 32-year-old vendor of database and enterprise application software, will get a lot closer to that goal if it gets final regulatory clearance to close its $7.4 billion acquisition of server and storage manufacturer Sun. Meanwhile, networking equipment vendor Cisco is focusing on its UCS initiative to expand its presence and influence in corporate data centers.
July 8: EMC Outbids NetApp to Acquire Data Domain
EMC said it has acquired about 82 percent of Data Domain's common stock at $33.50 per share since July 8, when competitor NetApp decided to drop out of the bidding for the deduplication storage maker.
July 23: EMC Profits Fall 43%
After posting record fourth-quarter results, EMC's subsequent quarterly reports mirror how the world economy began affecting the storage industry. EMC's earnings dropped to $205.2 million from $360.1 million in second-quarter 2008. Overall income was down 11 percent to $3.26 billion. However, CEO Joe Tucci was optimistic, saying he believes a return to higher numbers may not be far away.
May 26: Energy Star Program Turns Attention to Storage Arrays
Now that the first-tier specification for energy-efficient enterprise servers is completed, the EPA is turning its focus to larger servers, blades and storage arrays. Energy Star Director Andrew Fanara said with the Tier 1 requirements in place, a key benchmark has been established that will help speed along future specification sets.
Aug. 31: Iomega Unveils 2TB SMB Storage Appliance for $700
At VMworld, Iomega demonstrated publicly for the first time a new four-drive NAS (network-attached storage) appliance for small businesses, remote offices and home networks. The starting price for 2TB of capacity in the stand-alone StorCenter ix4-200d? Around $700. For a whopping 8TB? About $1,900. Personal IT storage continues to get better and cheaper.
May 14: Toshiba Launches First SSD Laptop with Half-TB Storage
Toshiba's Digital Products Division on May 14 unveiled the world's first laptop with more than a half-terabyte of solid-state storage capacity, but at this point, it isn't exactly cheap. The Portege R600-ST4203, which became available for general release in early June, features a second-generation 512GB eSATA SSD from Toshiba's own fabrication plant. The initial price tag was $3,500.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...