Even though storage networking is likely to be a muddled affair with the continuing development of SAN and NAS, Fibre Channel, iSCSI and Infiniband, the future for storage appliances certainly looks healthy.
According to this article in eWeek, it seems there will be no shortage of single-purpose, appliance-based storage in the near future. The iSCSI field in particular saw a lot of development on the appliance level at Storage Networking World last week, with new devices from Adaptec, Dell and H3C.
New solid-state solutions that take advantage of recent gains in flash memory were seen from Texas Memory Systems and Gear6. There is also a new line of UltraStor disks from Hitachi.
And the development chain is likely to be a long one, judging by the growing presence of OEM suppliers like Super Micro Computer and Rasilient Systems.
Appliances most definitely have some power-consumption issues to work out compared to general purpose server and storage systems, but their simplicity and versatility are certainly big draws. And as long as datacenters are keen to mix and match various storage networking infrastructures and platforms as needed, appliances will have a steady fan base.