Gartner's vision for the future of storage

Gartner's Dave Russel says FCoE may be slow to emerge, in this Q&A with editor Simon Sharwood.

SearchStorage ANZ Editor Simon Sharwood caught up with Gartner's Research Vice President for Storage Technologies & Strategies at the analyst firm's Symposium/ITxpo 2008.

SearchStorage ANZ: What do you see as the big issues in storage today?

Dave Russell: It sometimes feels like we do not have new problems in storage, just magnified problems. Growth in storage and retention issues are always there and so is the issue of reliability. Now we have more data and a greater expectation of availability.

SearchStorage ANZ: What are the technologies that meet those challenges?

Dave Russell: Data deduplication makes a lot of sense to manage data on the scale we now have. I have never seen a technology go from discussion to implementation so fast. Thin provisioning produces tangible business results and really helps businesses to scale their storage.

SearchStorage ANZ: How do you see solid state disks evolving?

Dave Russell: SSDs will get more real but there is work to be done on dynamic tiering. If everyone in a business reads a Dilbert cartoon every day, the data is accessed a lot but. But is it as important as the web ordering system?

The indisputable thing about SSD is speed and I think the issue is proximity to storage because the closer you put it to the application, the more you can take advantage of that. It's a return to direct-attach storage in some ways and I think we will see new products and maybe even mixing storage and server blades.

SearchStorage ANZ: What changes do you see in backup software?

Dave Russell: The challenge in backup software is not about doing more but doing more of the same while improving ease of use and adding functions. Users don't need more tools, they need richer tools in "unified recovery management" that includes the data deduplication and other new technologies.

SearchStorage ANZ: How do you see the future of storage networking?

Dave Russell: Cheap iSCSI SANs have not had much traction in the mid-market because there is a lot of fiber channel there and users are happy with that. I think perhaps Cisco has made a mistake with fiber channel over Ethernet (FcoE) because enterprise 10G cards are very expensive. That makes FcoE a high-cost, unratified standard. I don't think it will happen in the timeframe portrayed for its deployment.

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