As capacity explodes, virtualization comes to the rescue

Annual storage capacity growth rates of 30% seem small compared with what's coming

Hardly a day passes when there isn't some article in the press or analyst statement about how fast data and storage growth is occurring. Annual growth rates of 30% or more are commonly cited, but these percentages will probably start to appear conservative as companies increasingly capitalize on maturing storage technologies available to them.

For instance, only now after years of general availability is network block virtualization No. 1 on The InfoPro Inc.'s latest index of technologies that users plan to expand. This technology allows administrators to manage orders of magnitude more storage than they can today with either host- or array-based block-virtualization technologies.

This frees storage administrators from managing storage connectivity or performing data migrations so they can actually manage corporate data. This allows them to rethink everything from data migrations and backups to testing and development and will help to usher in a new era of data and storage growth.

The simple introduction of network block virtualization allows underutilized storage management technologies such as mirroring, snapshots and replication to be used on a much broader scale. These technologies now are often used only as point solutions to solve specific application problems. But since most network block virtualization products include these features, they become more widely available and usable.

The maturation of serial-attached storage will further accelerate this. One-terabyte Serial ATA drives bring the cost of storage down to under $1,000 per terabyte, while Serial-Attached SCSI technology allows companies to economically place high-performance and high-capacity drives together, further driving storage growth.

One should only expect annual storage growth to accelerate. As storage prices continue to drop and storage management technologies move into the mainstream, today's growth rates will seem like a drop in the bucket compared with what companies will experience in years to come.

Jerome Wendt is the president of and lead analyst at DCIG Inc. He may be reached at jerome.wendt@att.net.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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