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Sun 5 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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IT Weekly Middle East Newsletter 5th June 05

Reading any IT trade title (including this one) and you would probably come to the conclusion that security is the biggest headache for IT professionals today. You’d probably be right as well: a recent survey by Sage Research found that security was indeed listed as the number one concern of IT managers. But second?

Storing up your concerns|~||~||~|Reading any IT trade title (including this one) and you would probably come to the conclusion that security is the biggest headache for IT professionals today. You’d probably be right as well: a recent survey by Sage Research found that security was indeed listed as the number one concern of IT managers. But second?

Step forward storage. Or rather, lumber forward in an ungainly fashion storage. Quite simply, for most of us our storage needs are growing faster than we can cope with them — or at least, they're growing faster than the IT budgets allocated to them. Driving this demand for disk? Just about everything seemingly, from increased need for compliance to greater focus on multimedia applications to the explosion in online transactions of the past few years. Chuck in a Sarbanes Oxley or a Basel II and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for storage demand.

None of this is bad news if you’re in the storage business yourself of course.
In the late 1990s, this writer attended an IBM conference in New York, where
senior executives from Big Blue’s various divisions all touted their wares.

While IBM was at the time in the midst of its e-business marketing drive, which was being espoused by some sharp-suited execs fresh from some US business school, the happiest man there was a long-time IBM veteran, in a rather rumpled suit, who had been working in the company’s storage business for more than 20 years. You can imagine that some years must have been better than others, shall we say. As every exec gave their pitch, the same question kept coming up again and again from the floor: ‘How are you going to store all this data?’

Happy face on the IBM veteran. Later, he was asked off the record what it felt like to have his division suddenly grow in importance. “Pretty cool” was his answer before he swaggered off to hit the buffet table.

Since then, everybody else has pretty much cottoned on to the fact that storage is not the boring bit of your IT infrastructure but is actually pretty key to the whole process. Last week saw an event in Dubai, Storage World, which we have covered extensively in this issue and will cover in more detail in next week’s issue.

Leading vendors from the various storage sectors have all been touting their wares at the show, with the great and the good of the local market in attendance.

To outsiders, Storage World may seem a grandiose title, even for Dubai (after all health and the internet only rank a city apiece, while knowledge is considered just a village) but it does emphasise the importance of storage today for the IT industry. Its no longer enough to talk about hardware issues, disk or tape, now you have to look at software, there’s services, disaster recovery and backup — the list goes on.

There was another event in Dubai related to storage, with the Veritas Vision event also happening, the user conference for Vertias customers in the Middle East. There, executives really did their best not to mention the S word — and this time we don’t mean storage. The Veritas and Symantec merger could be described as a meeting of twin concerns: how to look after all that data you’ve stored and how to keep it safe once you’ve done it. The two companies may have found Wall Street reaction to their merger somewhat muted, but they’re betting that together they can handle two of the industries biggest headaches. And that somebody will pay them well for the remedy.
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