Demand for storage grows

Network storage might not sound exciting, but it's one of the most sought-after technologies in the federal government.

"There's an overwhelming demand in particular for network-attached storage," said Alan Lawrence, manager of strategic programs at Hewlett-Packard Co. "There's an incredible buzz around it, and it's getting a tremendous amount of attention because that type of technology can operate in a non.homogeneous environment. There's not an agency out there we're not talking to about that technology."

Lawrence said one reason storage is so hot is because imaging has come of age in federal agencies. "It's coming along as a real application, and now they have network bandwidth to deal with in the agency, and the storage demands multiply," he said.

Joel Lipkin, senior vice president of sales and customer support at GTSI Corp., said although the demand for end-user products—such as PCs, notebooks and printers—that helped make GTSI a player in the federal market is still growing, this season's solution focus is on infrastructure, networking and storage.

"Network storage solutions, probably by the end of the year, will be our fastest growing segment," Lipkin said. "There's a tremendous interest in that, and we've established a technology-focused group for installation and support."

Lipkin said GTSI has dedicated support teams of technol.ogy specialists, engineers and developers to a number of its fastest-growing products and services, such as Unix servers and storage, and to solution providers such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Tachyon Inc.

Al Edmonds, president of Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s Federal Goverment˜ Information Solutions, echoed the outlook for high-end storage solutions: "Storage is a big one because they want to get away from the mainframe mentality and share information [throughout] the agency, and there are good technologies that allow that to happen."

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