EDITORIAL: Not happy, Jan!

You can almost feel the anger emanating from this unhappy customer quoted in our page 1 story.

SAN solutions must be one of the most complex IT exercises around. Not only must the solution provider understand all the technical aspects, but gain an understanding of how the business will evolve in future. And when it comes to predicting future storage requirements, it's no easy task either.

Of course, we really wanted to tell you the names of these companies - publish and be damned and all that. But once the court case is wrapped up it will all be a matter of public record.

The point remains that integrators don't always get an easy run, particularly when it comes to implementing ground-breaking technologies.

SANs have been around in theory for a long time, but now we're seeing the concept hit reality with a thud.

According to IDC, the disk portion of the storage area network market will be worth $US62 million in revenues this year, nearly double the recorded $35 million recorded for 1999. Conservative estimates suggest it will reach $85 million by 2001.

In my opinion these IDC figures are only an "educated guess", given the rate of change in this industry.

The telling figure is IDC suggests only 7 per cent of companies have deployed SANs worldwide, with 18 per cent planning a SAN deployment. Just how many of those companies are in Australia remains to be seen.

Judging by this customer's reaction, the technology itself is promising, but it was the integrator that was the problem.

It does however, raise issues such as the level of SAN training on offer for the channel, how well vendors are supporting the technology in Australia and do we really understand the importance of aligning technology with a customer's business goals?

Another well-worn three-letter acronym that demands further investigation is the ASP market. ARN has already devoted thousands of words to the subject, but there's more to come.

I have it on very good authority that a couple of vendors in the infrastructure space offer their sales staff 150 per cent commission for sales to the ASP channel.

Now that's up to 50 per cent more commission than sales directed through more "normal" channel avenues such as network integrators.

Clearly these guys are predicting big things to come from ASPs, and take it as given that the ASP model will continue to change Australia's traditional three-tiered channel model.

I'm still here!

Can't a guy go overseas without rumours of my exit circulating around the channel? It was amusing to meet many people at LAN Systems' Lanmania party last week who thought I'd scampered after seeing my colleague Gerard Norsa's dial on this page. To clarify the situation, Gerard is now the editor of ARN and I retain the "in chief" title I've held for some months.

Practically, this means Gerard runs ARN day-to-day while I'm focussed on developing a number of exciting projects we will reveal soon. So don't be surprised if you see him on this page occasionally.

It's all good news because it demonstrates our commitment to offering the largest team of journalists dedicated to the channel. Backing that stance is some 27 channel publications IDG publishes worldwide, and it's in partnership with my fellow editors that I will be looking to take ARN forward.