Focusing on Enterprise Storage

There’s a new department in ENT -- Enterprise Storage.

This segment of the market is coming into its own for Microsoft Corp.’s business operating system.

Microsoft, quoting statistics that tracking the growth of storage associated with Windows NT servers, says NT-attached storage amounted to 11 petabytes in 1996 and grew to 39 petabytes in 1998. By 2002, Windows NT/2000 server-attached data is expected to exceed 260 petabytes worldwide.

With Windows 2000, Microsoft brings new storage capabilities to its platform. The new version adds Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) and Dynamic Volume Management. HSM automatically migrates infrequently accessed data from disk to less expensive media such as tape, and Dynamic Volume Management allows administrators to add new volumes, extend existing volumes, break or add mirrors, or repair RAID 5 arrays without taking the server offline. Redmond also added disk quotas, a Distributed file system, and an Encrypting File System that all have storage implications.

While we’ve covered storage all along at ENT, a department focused on the issues unique to this sector will provide the market trends you need in one place.

In addition to tracking Windows NT-attached storage and the storage-related changes in Windows 2000, we will follow several other storage trends:

Storage hardware. As users buy more storage hardware for their Windows NT/2000 servers, the major server hardware OEMs are fighting to capture sales of storage hardware as well. At the same time, pure-play storage vendors such as EMC and Hitachi -- in the U.S. market -- are jockeying for a share of the pie. Also, drive manufacturers are constantly updating the underlying tape and disk capacities and technologies, and Fibre Channel is making inroads as a storage interconnect.

Storage management. The distributed nature of Windows NT networks and the tendency for departmental-level introduction of Windows NT servers leads to a hemorrhaging of server storage across an organization. Increasingly, major enterprise management framework vendors are trying to reign in this NT-related storage. Many vendors are rolling out or scaling up storage management software targeted at Windows NT shops or the NT portions of enterprise networks. Associated with that, storage management software vendors are struggling to make their software manage storage across heterogeneous platforms in Storage Area Networks.

Storage networking. The Storage Area Network (SAN) is being accepted, but current solutions are for the most part single vendor/single platform. Vendors are working through the Storage Networking Industry Association to settle on standards that will enable heterogeneous SANs. Major players are building interoperability labs to certify that their SAN offerings work with pieces from other vendors. Meanwhile, the vertical complexity of SANs is maturing as enterprises move from basic hub-based SANs to switched-fabric SANs.

Windows 2000 tools. Microsoft has packed Windows 2000 with new storage features. But, as has historically been the case with Windows NT, many of those features require third-party tools to shore them up. Disk defragmentation companies and quota management vendors, to name two, are already clamoring to show how much enterprise capability they can add to the upgraded operating system’s basic tools.

Storage services. The industry is whispering about a new generation of service provider: the SSP, or storage service provider.

To make room for this department, we’ve bumped our E-Business section. The Web-enablement of every product, and e-commerce-platformization of most of them, has made a dedicated department for e-business as similarly absurd as running a department on computing. We will continue to cover e-business throughout the publication and at We couldn’t avoid it if we wanted to. These days, even tape drive vendors position their products as e-business solutions.