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Storage optimism in Mouse City

Nov 04, 20033 mins
Data Center

* Notes from Storage Networking World

I am writing this from Storage Networking World in Orlando.  All appears to be well here in Mouse City, both with the rodent and with the storage people I am meeting.

Right now it seems as if, for the vendors and users, there is good news and very good news.  I base this on the following.

* Attendance is way up – it looks as if there are more than 2,500 people here, a significant bump over last year.

* The attendance mix has further improved – just a few years ago this was pretty much a show where vendors preached to vendors.  Now, by my very rough estimate, there is a good chance that the end-user community may outnumber the people trying to sell them stuff.

* SMI-S, the new interoperability standard sponsored by SNIA, has been embraced by everyone that matters and the products are rolling out the door and into the interoperability lab here at the show.  The list of participants in the SMI-Lab3 includes AppIQ, Brocade, Cisco, CNT, Computer Associates, CreekPath, Fujitsu Softek, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, Invio, Legato, LSI Logic Storage, McData, Network Appliance, QLogic, Seagate, Storability, StorageTek, Sun, and Veritas.  By 2005 anyone who can’t (or, for whatever perverse reason, won’t) conform to SMI-S will be a non-player.

It is hard to determine if all the users here at the show are ready to start spending money, but at the very least travel – and interest – is definitely up.

The hardware vendors haven’t been quiet either.  LSI Logic Storage (what, you’ve never heard of the company?  It provides key storage technology for many/most of the enterprise-level storage systems currently in the marketplace) has released what it calls the first serial ATA (SATA) storage array for the enterprise to deliver enterprise-class solutions that do not sacrifice features and still come in at significant cost savings.  We will take a close look at these later on.

I still hear some moaning from a number of vendors about the suitability of SATA for the enterprise IT room, and many IT people worry abut whether or not SATA can play reliably at the same level as Fibre Channel and SCSI. 

This is a fair question when we are talking about individual drives, but likely to prove nonsensical when it comes to talking about arrays.  It is now clear that if the cost advantages that SATA delivers are front-ended by a robust RAID technology, which provides reliability and manageability, the assumed “problem” becomes a non-issue.

More from the SNW show floor in my next newsletter.