With a new year just around the corner, now is the time to start planning and understanding what technology trends you'll need to grasp to meet your customers needs. VARs should be prepared to address the following storage-related topics:
- Vendor consolidation and acquisitions, including manufacturers and resellers
- Storage types, interfaces and drive types to use with different applications
- Potential storage partners, and training and certification
- Backup and data protection management combined with event correlation analysis
- Compliance, data preservation and archiving (email, office and other files)
- Performance, capacity, availability and ease of use and upgradability
- Network based vs. removable media for data backup and archiving
- Data and information privacy, security and data protection
- Storage virtualization to complement server virtualizaiton and consolidation
- Services including storage, security and data protection assessments
- Integrated storage systems that support iSCSI and Fibre Channel storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS)
A popular topic that will continue to be important is data protection and data security in remote offices, branch offices (ROBO) and SMB environments. While large enterprise organizations appear in news headlines discussing data loss or theft, ROBO and SMB environments are equally at risk and, in some cases, have more to lose. Data security involves both logical access (encryption, access control and authorization) and physical access (locks and controlled) to IT resources (technology and data). Insuring adequate data backup and copies of data is important and must be considered as part of a data strategy.
While encryption protects your data from falling into the wrong hands, having a backup copy of your data enables you to continue with your business should you become a victim of data theft or loss. So it goes without saying that a good backup and data protection plan needs to have security and a good security plan needs to have a backup. There are many options available today to meet the growing amount of data that is being generated, accessed and stored in ROBO and SMB environments. Learn your options for addressing SMB and ROBO data protection in a timely, comprehensive and cost-effective manner.
Another storage-related topic to watch for in 2007, to enable data and storage management, is IP-based storage -- particularly NAS. IP-based storage technologies facilitate data protection, including replication and mirroring of iSCSI and Fibre Channel SAN or NAS (NFS and CIFS) storage. Consequently IP-based storage solutions are very complementary to data protection in SMB and ROBO environments. Start educating yourself now to prepare for your customers' requests. Drop me a note if you need clarification or wish to discuss these and other storage-related topics and strategies to provide value to your customers in 2007.
About the author: Greg Schulz is founder and senior analyst of the independent storage analyst firm the StorageIO Group and author of the book "Resilient Storage Networks" (Elsevier).