It is not often that a non-storage conference distracts from the normal round of storage conferences such as Storage Decisions and Storage Networking World, but that may be the case when VMworld kicks off on September 11. What makes this event unique is that multiple storage vendors are planning to use VMworld as their venue for new product announcements or, in the case of startups, as their coming out party.
Selecting VMworld as a product or company launching point does not so much diminish the value of other storage conferences, as it reflects the growing importance that VMware is taking on in corporate boardrooms. Storage vendors know that companies are going to need more virtualization technologies, not less, if they adopt VMware, so these vendors see VMworld as a perfect opportunity to share in VMware’s spotlight.
There are only a couple of small problems with storage vendors piggybacking on the VMware express. VMware as a company is already nine years old, founded in 1998. Also, VMware has had a functioning product since 1999 with VMware’s recent ESX server operating system product release, now in its 3rd generation.
IT managers should exercise some caution because, while VMware offers for savings in server consolidation, IT managers can not automatically extend VMware’s savings and benefits to complimentary storage technologies. VMware has spent years developing its technology and building a user and knowledge base. Products from these storage companies may not have reached the same level of maturity.
The good news is that storage virtualization went through a similar round of hype about five to six years ago. Some of the companies that survived that round, such as DataCore Software and FalconStor Software, now have much more mature products that are still around and in use in mission-critical environments.
VMworld is acting as a demarcation point in the future of storage management. Virtualization is no longer something that companies can ignore or minimize – it is critical to the future of enterprise storage management and storage vendors recognize that sharing in VMware’s spotlight will likely pay huge dividends for them in the coming years. However, IT Managers still need to verify, before they spend big money on complimentary storage virtualization technologies, that these products can technically and financially deliver on their promised benefits.