Looking back: Top 10 storage trends of 2008

New technologies and the falling cost of advanced features highlight a year of storage alternatives

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6. Many vendors now offering de-duplication. De-duplication used to be a very specialized feature offered by Data Domain and a couple of other vendors. In 2008, many vendors announced de-duplication capabilities, not only for backup systems, but in some cases, for near-line storage.

7. Storage in the cloud. Amazon is offering S3 (Simple Storage Service), EMC is offering systems to enable enterprises to create their own storage clouds, and companies like SpiderOak and Carbonite offer backup services for less then $100 per year. Fears of lack of availability during Internet outages are offset by universal access from anywhere and the ability to bypass storage hardware investments.

8. 1.5TB SATA hard drives at $130. Capacities continue to grow at a fantastic rate, with 1.5TB drives dwindling in price from more than $450 to less than $150 in a year or so. Uses for all that storage abound, with multimedia files from podcasts and Webcasts, security video, e-mail archives, and disk-based backups of every other type of enterprise document. As capacities continue to increase and prices drop, the biggest problem will be managing all that data.

9. Fibre Channel hangs on. iSCSI enthusiasts, Infiniband advocates, and FCoE promoters keep predicting the death of Fibre Channel, but prices for FC continue to drop fast enough to fight off the challengers, and experienced FC storage admins continue to trust in what they know.

10. Lots of green hype, not much substance. Between Al Gore fans and IT business managers looking for ways to cut costs, there is a lot of interest in green systems, in storage as well as servers. Unfortunately, many early "green" products show progress mainly in re-written marketing materials rather than real advances in efficiency. Typical of this is the power savings touted for SSDs in laptops. Although it's true that SSDs use much less power than hard disk drives, they're really only in fourth or fifth place as power consumers in laptops, behind the screen, CPU, memory, and graphics adapter (in systems with discrete graphics cards, at least). An SSD that uses 5 percent of the power of a hard disk may only make a 10-minute difference in battery life, depending on the applications in use.

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