Storage Markets, an innovative company providing impartial, cost-effective market research to the data storage industry, announced trading for a newly posted question addressing whether enterprise storage customers will move towards homogeneous (i.e. single vendor) storage solutions in 2007.

Much has been made of the costs and benefits of heterogeneous storage environments where storage elements from multiple vendors must interoperate to meet customer storage requirements. The argument in favor of heterogeneous storage has been that it can save money by buying best-of-breed SAN products and avoiding vendor lock in. The arguments against claim it can lead to unexpected organizational and operational expense in managing the disparate components. Understanding if enterprise IT and storage customers are evolving towards more homogeneous purchasing behaviors and deployment is key to many decisions being made by storage vendors and investors.

More than 350 storage industry professionals and end users are answering the question, "Are customers moving towards homogeneous storage environments in 2007?" by buying and selling a virtual financial security whose price reflects the probability of a "yes" answer. Instead of a poll, survey or focus group answering what they would like to see happen, Storage Markets has created an environment where industry professionals collectively predict what will happen. Trading on this question is open to the entire storage industry community including vendors, end users, industry experts, analysts and resellers who register at The question will run through March 2008, and the resulting share price will reflect the probability that homogeneous storage purchases will increase in 2007.

Storage Markets is working with the Information Storage Industry Center (ISIC), University of California, San Diego, in linking the results from its predictive market to an ongoing ISIC research project on Standards and InterOperability. "We are excited to be working with Storage Markets to better understand the business factors driving the proliferation of standards and interfaces, and their resulting impacts on cap-ex vs. op-ex purchases of future storage hardware," said Dr. Jim Short, ISIC's Research Director. "Predictive markets are an important management tool in providing probabilities for future outcomes in many industries. We feel the application of these tools has a bright future in the storage industry."

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