Jury still out on SAN take up in Oz

Jury still out on SAN take up in Oz

While no one seems to dispute the emergence of storage area networks (SANs) as a viable option for enterprises looking to handle the ever-increasing amount of compiled data, it seems industry pundits are divided on the state of play in the Australian market.

With International Data Corp (IDC) touting enterprise storage as growing at 80 per cent per annum, SANs are on the rise as companies search for ways to store, manage and mine massive amounts of data.

According to some industry analysts, by 2002 around 70 per cent of all medium to large companies are expected to use SANs. But it seems no one is quite sure where Australia is placed in the race towards SAN solutions.

The SAN market is being driven by Internet applications which require 24x7 backup and data intensive files which were not as widespread a few years ago claims Grant Smith, manager of Tivoli Systems' storage business unit.

Ken Wood, co-founder and marketing/sales director for storage integrator EnStor, said SAN growth is echoing the early stages of LAN adoption.

Wood states that, while other storage configurations can be a better option for some of his customers, SAN deployment is definitely an "end view" for a company's storage requirements in the future - and the future is here.

"[The market] is already moving out of the early adopters phase," Wood said.

However, Graham Penn, director of storage research at IDC Asia Pacific, claims the SAN market is not quite that mature. He said that while there are a few SAN deployments around, the real growth is yet to hit.

As such, Penn believes the market for integrators is far from saturated. In fact, Penn argues integrators are more likely to run out of staff on the ground who can deploy SANs, before they are likely to run out of corporate customers.

"There'll be a lot of growth over the next five years," he said.

From a customer's perspective, Trevor Foley, senior technology consultant for BT Financial Group, feels that the SAN phenomenon has not reached the high-end enterprise space.

He attributes this to "interoperability" issues between the various storage vendors, which has hamstrung companies' investment in SAN technology. Foley claims organisations are forced to adopt a single vendor policy, which at this stage, is too large an investment.

"The standards aren't in place yet to let interoperability between hardware," Foley said. "In 12 month's time we won't have to worry about interoperability."

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