The occurrence of open networking among storage vendors has been an "evolutionary process".
Harry Christian, NetCache sales, Australia and New Zealand for Network Appliance said storage has been one of the last things to be thought about in this context, as a separate process, with vendors working from a protocol level.
The storage solution provider recently released its fibre channel fabric tape SAN (storage area network) backup solution which is certified to work with storage products from Brocade, StorageTek, Veritas, ATL, BakBone Software, CommVault, Legato, Quadratec, Spectra Logic, Syncsort and Workstation Solutions.
"In the future the storage area will see more open systems, disks will become more commoditised, cheaper to run. The main thing that differentiates the leaders will be the software solutions they provide."
Christian believes it is vital for IT managers in this economic climate to remember that total costs of ownership (TCO) should be at the forefront of their storage making decisions.
Michael Burnie, managing director Australia and New Zealand for NetAPP, agrees: "With an increasing need for prudent IT spending, today's enterprises require solutions that scale as their businesses grow, minimise total cost of ownership (TOC), increase the productivity of IT staff and optimise IT administrative costs.
"IT professionals should not only look at the initial price, but also what it will cost to run in the long term. Often they don't think about what it will cost to run the storage solution in four to five years time," Christian said.
With regards to the various types of storage solutions on offer, Christian said it was no longer a "technology argument", for example SAN or NAS (network-attached storage) but the need to look at how to solve storage problems.
Another important issue the IT department should consider is the need for consolidation. Christian said the days of 'server farms' -- floors of servers where "no thought has been put into a long-term storage solution" -- has passed.