Until relatively recently, corporate IT systems were often a hodgepodge of disparate devices and protocols that didn't interoperate. Different vendors, operating systems, conflicting standards and varying approaches to implementation led to a landscape littered with IT islands and information silos. Thankfully, this has mostly been resolved with the exception of one key zone of operations -- storage.
Storage remains, in many respects, a mess. On the storage technology side, organizations typically include a mix of Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Storage Area Networks (SANs), and Network Attached Systems (NAS). At the same time, they have to deal with multiple hardware systems each with built-in proprietary software to manage RAIDs, tape drives, and other storage management functions.
These systems, in turn, run on the gamut of operating systems -- various versions of Windows, UNIX, Linux, NetWare, and Mainframe OSes, not to mention the fact that many have their own unique file systems.
Other sources of storage chaos include widely separated sites, out of control disk space requirements, and staffing levels that have not kept up with growth. Add to that tightening IT budgets, and you are faced with a significant challenge.
"With eBusiness-related storage requirements doubling annually, organizations are faced with three main challenges: 1) building storage environments that can scale to meet demand, 2) effectively managing these increasingly complex environments, and 3) coping with ever-shrinking back up windows," says Bill North, research director for storage software at International Data Corp. (IDC).
One possible solution to the chaotic nature of enterprise storage is the storage portal. In this article we'll take a look at the growth of storage, its repercussions in the enterprise, and how storage portals may simplify some of the issues facing the industry.