Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Looking Forward in 2007

At this time of year, there is a tendency to look back on the year that just passed. Subsequently, the industry press and blogsphere is chock full of articles with titles like "The Best of 2006 in.." or "Looking Back at 2006 in...". I thought about doing that too. For about ten seconds. Who wants a recap of stuff we already know. That's fun for cultural ruminations about music or movies but not for technology, especially a subspecies like data storage. We are more interested in where we are going than where we've been.

One of the reasons I was tempted to do a retrospective is because the upcoming year seems to be shaping up to be, well, a bit dull. The last few years have been, technologically speaking, quite exciting. We have seen the mainstreaming of ILM, CDP, disk-to-disk backup, and WAFS. Highly scalable NAS devices and file virtualization, on the edge just a few years ago, are now commonplace.

With all this new technology having previously been introduced, a slowdown is inevitable. Once technology is proven to the point where managers can feel it is safe, they deploy it. That's where the focus will be in 2007. Getting all of this useful technology into the data center without something going horribly wrong. The good news is that after all the data disasters of the past year, there is renewed interest in data protection at the highest levels of the corporation. That means there will be budget for these projects.

For vendors, this is good news indeed. Rather than evaluating new technology, IT managers will actually be buying it. It's a salesperson's dream - something new to talk about that works and that customer might actually buy.

Also on the vendor side, consolidation will continue. The big companies will continue to gobble up the small ones that are still left. Their focus will be on integrating these newer technologies into their overall product lines. To that end, CDP is fast becoming a feature of disk-based backup and WAFS another network service.

Since everyone will be spending their time digesting acquisitions and technology, don't expect radical new technology to hit the streets. Think incremental changes to products rather then revolutionary new technology. Most folks will be too worried about deployment to care about something disruptive.

For sure, some areas will continue to show innovation. Information management tools such as classification or information tracking are still in their infancy. A lot can happen in this arena in the next year. Application specific storage also has some ways to go and will be a hot area in 2007.

A lot will be happening on the consumer side as well. While more a packaging project, making advanced technology available to consumers will be an interesting path for some companies. Seagate and Iomega are gearing up to attack this market head on. As more and more households store and share lots of digital photos, music, and videos, they will need better storage options then a PC hard drive. These products will be well received once the prices come down a bit.

In a nutshell, 2007 will be a bit boring unless you are making or spending money. In that case, you will be very busy.

No comments: