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2008 outlook: storage and the midmarket.

Midsized organizations need to justify every penny invested in IT. Challenged to do more with less, they typically do not have the financial resources their enterprise competitors have to invest in IT projects and staff. Midsized companies do not have the budget to upgrade every year so solutions that they purchase today must address current and future needs. These technology solutions must not only manage and transform their technology environments, but also help IT managers deliver measurable business results.

In 2008, as midsized businesses look to accelerate growth and lower operating costs, there will be a clear shift in purchasing decisions from buying a piece of hardware versus complete solution packages that provide real bottom line value.

Storage in the IT Infrastructure

IT managers find they do not have the expertise and time required to keep up with the high demands of data growing exponentially, making storage needs more complex. Midsized companies are looking for intelligent storage solutions that are easy to deploy and manage in the context of their IT infrastructure' linking servers, storage, and applications together to maximize efficiencies. A more holistic or end-to-end approach to storage makes it easier to manage the most critical business challenges with limited IT staff, as they can easily migrate data from older servers or add storage capacity to applications through a series of simple clicks without requiring specialized storage expertise.

Virtual Storage Infrastructures

The fully virtualized storage infrastructure is in high demand as the benefits of virtualization technology helps businesses accelerate growth by lowering IT operating costs. There are network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) virtualization products that allow customers to consolidate management of multiple systems, implement intelligent tiered storage, extend the life of existing storage systems, and centralize data protection.

Opportunities for Storage Integrators and Resellers

Midsized companies moving to new technologies such as network storage recognize the value that system integrators and solution providers bring to the table--helping them solve specific business problems with innovative server and storage solutions for their unique infrastructure and application needs. Customers in the small and midsized market seek storage solutions that tightly integrate storage hardware with comprehensive data protection software and management interfaces. This shift in the discussion from simply controlling data growth towards integrated and intelligent storage as a part of a larger business and IT strategy will also open up many opportunities for VARs and resellers.

Business drivers for network storage include areas such as regulation, disaster recovery planning and cost reduction through consolidation, to name just a few. HP predicts great opportunities in the midmarket for integrators who are moving into storage and for resellers who want to have an opportunity to introduce storage as part of their virtualization and blade server offerings.

As the data explosion continues and customers seek new innovations in storage management, infrastructure and consolidation, there is no doubt these trends will continue to develop throughout 2008 and beyond.

Brad Parks is product marketing manager, StorageWorks Division, Hewlett-Packard
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Title Annotation:Hewlett-Packard Co.
Author:Parks, Brad
Publication:Computer Technology Review
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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