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4/12/2008
12:43 PM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
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The Temperature Of Storage

Why can't I look away from the morning weather report, or just turn the page when I come across the odds-makers' lines on the sports section? Maybe it's the control freak in me. Or that I want to believe some mere mortal really knows how this will all turn out. Maybe I just want information, even if it's deemed reliable but not guaranteed. I try to remember all this as I read the temperature taking going on in the storage industry, against a backdrop of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and r

Why can't I look away from the morning weather report, or just turn the page when I come across the odds-makers' lines on the sports section? Maybe it's the control freak in me. Or that I want to believe some mere mortal really knows how this will all turn out. Maybe I just want information, even if it's deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

I try to remember all this as I read the temperature taking going on in the storage industry, against a backdrop of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and record energy prices.Kaushik Roy of Pacific Growth Equities this week found a silver lining outside the U.S., pointing to strong revenue in Europe and the Middle East; the strength of the euro currency also will help storage vendors here, he adds, in an investment note from Monday.

"April is looking fine, but we are not sure how things might shape up in May and June. As such, we believe that companies could be very cautious with their CQ2 guidance. Nonetheless, we do not believe that companies who provide yearly guidance (such as IBM, EMC, etc.) will cut C2008 guidance when they report CQ1," he wrote.

Likewise, overall IT spending appears to be holding up OK, and "enterprise storage seems to be doing slightly better than other segments of IT, primarily driven by data growth, regulatory compliance, increased priority of disaster/recovery, and business continuity plans by SMBs," Roy added.

I like his cautious optimism, and was even happy to hear about the strength of the euro for the first time, uhh, ever.

R.W. Baird's Jayson Nolan did his own temperature taking at the Storage Networking World show in Orlando this past week. He pointed to Ethernet and solid state drives (SSDs) as technologies to stay focused on, and views vendors' energy savings efforts as cause for his own cautious optimism.

"Though the push for 'Green' is unlikely to drive incremental spend given constrained IT budgets, we believe power and cost savings metrics will be an increasingly important differentiator for vendors," Nolan wrote in an e-mail this week. "Some key technologies to achieve these outcomes are server virtualization, data deduplication, and blade-based systems (footprint reduction)."

Like meteorology, economic forecasting claims to be a science; it's just not always a reliable one. So whether we're talking about rain or RAID, it's smart to remember the last word can only be had in retrospect.

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