They've been talked about and written about for years. Standards groups have fussed over every last detail, industry associations have sponsored endless interoperability demos, and vendors have jockeyed for position with competing prototype announcements.
Now the products are actually starting to hit the market.
We're talking about new storage technologies such as 4 gigabit per second Fibre Channel, serial attached SCSI (SAS) and continuous data protection (CDP). Vendors have been rolling out products based on those technologies in recent weeks, and they really picked up the pace this week.
EMC and SGI got the ball rolling a couple of weeks ago with 4-gig Fibre Channel announcements. This week, products based on the new technologies began to appear en masse. Among the announcements:
- Adaptec announced that IBM's recently launched X3 architecture and eServer xSeries 366 solution will incorporate Adaptec's Zero Channel SAS RAID controller, making Big Blue the first major vendor to ship a high-performance server built on SAS technology and RAID 6 data protection from Adaptec.
- PMC-Sierra, LSI Logic and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced plans to demonstrate production-ready SAS products at next week's Intel Developers Forum.
- Agilent Technologies, LSI Logic, ARIO Data Networks and Aristos Logic all made 4-gig Fibre Channel product announcements.
- And the Storage Networking Industry Association's (SNIA) Data Management Forum (DMF) announced the formation of a continuous data protection (CDP) special interest group. Founding members include Alacritus, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, InMage, Mendocino, Mimosa Systems, NetApp, TimeSpring, Revivio, Scentric, Storactive, Sun Microsystems, Veritas and XOsoft. Among the group's charges is to develop the technical requirements for a CDP data services interface standard within the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S).
So what's behind all these technologies reaching market at the same time?
"I wouldn't say there is anything special going on, just typical evolution of technology," Hurley told Enterprise Storage Forum. "Maybe as we analysts get briefed on this so far in advance, it just seems like these things have been around for a while."
Hurley expects SAS and SATA II to be adopted faster than 4-gig Fibre Channel "just due to the ease of implementation of those technologies versus having to change out infrastructure to upgrade to 4G. We expect 4G will be adopted in some new installations, but the reality is a number of organization only recently finished upgrading to 2G FC, so don't expect adoption of 4G en masse this year."
Hurley also expects CDP and WAFS products to create a stir this year.
Vendors in the CDP space include Topio, Mendocino, FilesX, XOsoft, Alactritus, FalconStor and Revivio, and Hurley says to "expect all of the current backup vendors to have CDP offerings soon, including Veritas, Legato, HP and CA."
WAFS vendors include Cisco, Tacit Networks, XOsoft, Riverbed, Signiant, Constant Data and DiskSites.