Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Oct 26 2011   6:44AM GMT

This month in Storage: Makeups, breakups and a bold tomorrow

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

This month, we took a look at the fast-evolving storage landscape here at ITKnowledgeExchange: It was a big month for acquisitions, announcements and – in at least one case – public breakups, all setting the ground for a 2012 full of interesting developments, particularly as SSD, Cloud Computing and other (very) relatively new technologies come into regular usage.

But what is the good of all that data in the first place? Oracle tried to drum up a answer with the release of its Exalytics BI Machine, which turns your Oracle-powered shop into a real-time, “Big Data” crunching powerhouse. What we’re seeing is a closer linkage between Business Intelligence and the data it needs to work, which means storage has to step up to the plate in a number of new ways: Faster indexing, faster retrieval, and much, much higher I/O to deal with streams of incoming, outgoing real-time data that must be accounted for.

But how to pick your date to the storage ball? We loved Eric Slack’s three keys to a good storage vendor partner:

  • Understanding
  • Investment
  • Commitment
Pretty much what makes any relationship work, but Slack follows through with the tough questions to make sure that the person shilling you storage by the terabyte is “the one”. For even more advice on picking the special vendor, check out his Top 10 Percent list, which looks at what he things are the “best of the best” in their respective areas.
Speaking of holy unions, Leah Rosin reported on Red Hat’s acquisition of Gluster, dubbed “The Red Hat of Storage”. Expect to see some new competition in the hybrid cloud front as a result:

“The scale out storage technology and expertise Red Hat is gaining from the acquisition of Gluster will serve as a powerful foundation for future public, private and hybrid storage clouds,” said Henry Baltazar, senior analyst of The 451 Group.

In somewhat sadder news, Sharon Fisher noted that Dell and EMC are Splitsville, due largely to Dell’s increasing self-reliance in the storage space. As Fisher reported:

“Over the past few years, Dell has grown to become a robust storage technology provider with differentiated capabilities across several product families, including Compellent, EqualLogic, PowerVault, and Dell / EMC,” is the way the company actually put it, on what used to be the Dell/EMC product page.

Dell bought EqualLogic in 2007, and Compellent in 2010 — spending a total of $2 billion on storage acquisitions — after starting its partnership with EMC in 2001. Other acquisitions included Exanet for scale-out NAS technology and Ocarina for data compression and optimization, as well as making its own DX6000 object storage hardware, partnering with Caringo for the software. The company also reportedly said that its own storage properties provide almost 80 percent of its storage revenues and 90 percent of its profits in the second quarter of this year.

Nothing good lasts forever, as they say, but Dell is serious about owning more of the enterprise stack and this is a strong step in that direction.

All in all, it’s an exciting time for storage, and ITKnowledgeExchange readers are keeping up with the trends: Getting up to speed on how to capitalize on the cloud, without crashing the business, was a Community Goal for 2012, which is why Randy Kerns post makes a great closure to this month’s wrap up, in which he reminds us that storage isn’t a sprint, it’s a decades-long marathon:

The excitement around a new technology needs to be kept in perspective with how long it takes to be deployed successfully by IT. The technology adoption rate reflects the inertia and conservative nature for handling the critical task of storing data.

The longer technology adoption rate can kill start-up companies when they can’t get the investments required to get to the point of profitability. Many investors have an aggressive profile that defies the reality of adoption rates. Larger companies can handle the conservative adoption more successfully, but with much internal angst.

But no matter how great a new storage technology may be, the customer needs to understand it to make correct decisions about investing in it before it takes hold in data centers.

Michael Morisy is the editorial director for ITKnowledgeExchange. He can be followed on Twitter or you can reach him at Michael@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

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