It's about storage; See how you store Web data

Storage is one of those technologies that we tend to take for granted. And yet, if we look at the true status of things today, storage is king. One can even argue that servers, which have become commodities, are now becoming peripheral to storage devices. Driving that point home are some estimates from IBM Corp., which expects storage sales to surpass server sales in the next two years.

What's driving all this newfound respect for storage is the advent of Web sites on the Internet, all of which rely on old-fashioned magnetic storage devices to store ever-increasing amounts of data. The crucial role that storage now plays also has changed the way people buy storage products in relation to servers.

In the old days, people bought most of their storage from the same company that sold them their server.

Today, most people recognize that storage is the lifeblood of their IT operation; as a result, many of them now consider which storage architecture to line up well before they worry about what particular server they will buy.

All this change has led to the rise of companies such as EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc. In turn, companies such as Dell Computer Corp. have begun targeting storage as a major new market, whereas companies such as IBM and Compaq Computer Corp. look to fend off rivals in a space in which they used to just assume would create recurring revenue opportunities.

This week at InfoWorld we're recognizing this changed state of affairs with the release of the InfoWorld Test Center Research Report, which combines an exhaustive look at the storage-spending habits of our readers with candid trend analysis pieces from our Test Center analysts.

As we all know, with the rise of SANs (storage area networks) and NAS (network-attached storage) products, the choices facing readers are becoming increasingly complex.

So it's our hope that this first in a series of technology-specific supplements from the InfoWorld Test Center will prove invaluable in the months to come.

The InfoWorld Test Center Research Report is not the only InfoWorld first associated with storage technology. If you log on to InfoWorld.com on Friday (March 2), you will be able to view the first InfoWorld Webcast.

InfoWorld Acting Test Center Director Kevin Railsback and Test Center Senior Analyst P.J. Connolly will discuss major storage technology trends and their impact on the enterprise.

Following that discussion is another Webcast interview with Michael Carrier, founder and CTO of Totality, a managed service provider based in San Francisco.

As a company that hosts Web sites for major enterprise customers, Carrier offers up significant insights on when it's best to deploy SANs and NAS technologies in relation to each other.

Webcasts are a brand-new adventure for those of us who work at InfoWorld, and we hope you find them as informative and enjoyable as we do. In the next few weeks, you can expect to see similar Webcasts on telecommuting and Windows technologies, which will be followed later in the year by Webcasts from InfoWorld-sponsored events such as the CTO Forum that will take place this June in San Francisco.

In the meantime, as always, we believe that an educated customer is the smartest customer who gets the best deal.

Unfortunately, storage still remains a relatively expensive proposition. In fact, storage and memory technologies are to the Internet what shovels and blue jeans were to the gold rush.

At the end of the day, the people who made the most money during the gold rush were the ones who sold shovels and blue jeans.

But once you come to storage as the foundation of your entire IT infrastructure, we'll wager that you'll bargain a lot harder over the price of your next shovel in the golden age of the Internet.

Michael Vizard is editor in chief of InfoWorld. You can now get From the Editor in Chief free via e-mail each week. Sign up at www.iwsubscribe.com/newsletters

This story, "It's about storage; See how you store Web data" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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