During the EMC Forum 2011 hosted by the storage giant a few weeks ago, EMC president Pat Gelsinger described the still-young cloud computing era as “the most disruptive we have seen in the last 40 years.” He was talking about disruption for customers, but watching storage vendors deal with the cloud makes it clear that the cloud is also disruptive to their plans.
We’ve seen traditional storage vendors try to wash their legacy products as private, public and hybrid cloud technologies as they seek ways to continue selling those technologies under the cloud banner. Keeping storage clouds loosely defined is in their vested interest, at least until customers figure out exactly how – or if – they want to use the cloud.
EMC is a perfect example of a vendor looking to define cloud storage around its image. EMC originally hailed its Atmos object-based platform as its cloud product. But at its recent Forum, EMC showcased Isilon scale-out NAS and its VNX midrange unified storage platform as private and hybrid cloud products. Atmos was hardly mentioned.
EMC is also among the vendors who talk of server virtualization as a fundamental cloud technology. That’s no surprise, because EMC is majority owner of server virtualization market leader VMware and many of its customers have already gone down the virtualization path or are planning to do so. When asked to define the cloud, Gelsinger mentioned virtualization, having a shared pool of computing networking and storage, and an automated managed environment. “What we call IT as a service,” he said.
There seems to be as many definitions of storage clouds as there are people in the storage industry.
Let us know what you think.