Gartner: Storage management software immature

Gartner's annual Symposium in Sydney, Australia, has been told that storage management software lacks the sophistication users need to effectively manage storage sprawl.

Gartner believes that "storage management software is not as mature as it could be" and is "a work in progress for a lot of vendors," according to a presentation delivered today at the analyst firm's Symposium/ITXPO 2009 in Sydney, Australia.

Gartner analyst Phillip Sargeant gave this assessment of the industry in the event's sole session dedicated to storage.Titled "The Enterprise Storage Scenario - Future Proofing your Infrastructure," the session saw Sargeant assert that storage growth continues at around 60% per anumn, with Australian users finding collaborative applications, Web 2.0 and unstructured data the main sources of new data.

Sargeant added that ever-increasing quantities of data mean additional complexity of storage systems is inevitable, but warned that today's storage software and storage management processes will struggle to cope with future storage needs.

After criticising current storage management sofwtare for its lack of comprehensive automation and tiering tools, Sargeant went on to say that many organisations' lack of dedicated storage professionals will mean they cannot overcome complexity as generalist IT staff will not have the skills to appreciate emerging technologies' utility.

"I have been to many organisations where storage is a part-time job," he said. "You cannot afford to do that." Organisations that do not invest in storage specialists, he warned, will find their storage costs increase as they fail to appreciate how to negotiate with vendors and therefore pay more for new purchases, while also incurring higher ongoing operational costs due to inefficient storage management processes. Organisations employing storage professionals, he added, should task them with improving storage processes rather than worrying about the technologies underpinning storage infrastructure.

Among other predictions made in the presentation, Sargeant stated:

  • 2.5 inch disks will soon become the norm, as organisations will appreciate their smaller size and lower power requirements;
  • SAS hard disks will replace Fiber Channel drives, with the latter a rarity by 2013;
  • Automatic tiering will become prevalent in a 3-4 year timeframe;
  • Commodity-hardware-based storage appliances akin to Windows storage server will become more plentiful;
  • A new class of software Sargeant called "Managers of Data Protection" will emerge as a single tool from which to manage multiple other pieces of storage management software;
  • Data deduplication and compression to become pervasive, with the technologies likelyy to be embedded in applications, arrays, operating systems and even middleware.


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