The next generation of storage systems will take complete control of content as well as the hardware and network infrastructure.
According to industry analyst IDC, the next decade will see storage systems bundled with smarts to reduce "isolated functionality" and instead provide a "storage operating system" to boost application performance and value.
Graham Penn, IDC's Asia Pacific associate vice president of storage, said an intelligent "storage operating system" is a rapid shift from the isolated point functionality associated with today's storage systems.
Penn, who is delivering an address at Storage Networking World in Sydney next week, said storage will no longer be about individual devices or isolated SANs.
"It will be about better access to data, namely usability at a lower cost," he said.
"The objective is to build and integrate hardware and software capabilities that will help companies cost-effectively consolidate, manage, protect and archive growing volumes of digital content and by integrating intelligent storage systems with business-critical applications, there will be opportunities to boost application performance and availability.
"IDC expects storage system suppliers will seek to increase their investment in the core storage OS and enable an advanced, scalable application infrastructure leading to a grid-like OS."
A case study on Central Queensland University's shared storage will be delivered at the conference, outlining the network linking some 11 sites across Australia as the uni moved from direct attached storage to a SAN environment.
Adrian Yarrow, corporate systems administration manager at Central Queensland University said his presentation will not be centred on the specifics of the uni's storage environment, but what it has enabled. A large ERP implementation in 1999 forced the university to review its storage infrastructure and implement a SAN.
The conference will feature 15 end-user case studies, a range of panel sessions as well as local and international speakers from Europe and the US.
Gartner's global storage team vice president Phillip Sargeant will present the opening address and will also participate in an end-user panel discussion on disaster recovery featuring Griffith University director of information systems Naveen Sharma and Adelaide University strategic initiatives manager Martin Barbary.
Compliance is also on the agenda with a presentation on document retention versus document destruction and employee surveillance by Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers partner Peter Leonard.
Conference organizer, Storage Networking Industry Association, has selected the theme: Building a Storage Foundation for the Information Enterprise for the event and expects the number of delegates attending this year's conference, on September 26 and 27, to double that of last year.
More details are available at www.snwaustralia.com