UK Data Storage Buzz

Feb 24 2012   5:19AM GMT

Storage and capitalism

Antony Adshead Antony Adshead Profile: Antony Adshead

I wrote this as a “From the editor” note for a newsletter and thought it was worth keeping on the blog as it’s a theme I may add to over time. File under “dangerously subversive” or “blindingly obvious; you be the judge …

Perusing this week’s selection of content on I am spurred to remark how the business of storage reflects the economy/society we live in. A few key facts of capitalist life pop out from the stories we feature.

Fact No. 1: Economic power consolidates and big companies tend to lord it over small ones and eventually absorb them or wipe them out. See Chris Mellor’s argument for why the big storage vendors will sweep the board in flash cache. Also see Symantec’s attempt to chisel some cash from (and fatally wound?) Veeam and Acronis in a lawsuit filed last week.

Fact No. 2: The nature of private enterprise builds in duplication of technologies while also ensuring similar products are incompatible. This occurred to me when writing the Greenbytes blog post and the fact that their product won’t work with any other array, or at least not without storage virtualisation tools. I’m not singling out Greenbytes here — they’re no different to any other vendor; they all make sure you can’t use their arrays with other vendors arrays. Lock-in is the name of the IT vendor game in capitalism.

Fact No. 3: Periodic technological advances threaten entire existing paradigms. Here I have in mind the story showing how cloud file storage services are undermining VPN use and even in-house file servers. The cloud has the potential — once security and latency concerns are dealt with — to severely dent the existing model of in-house storage arrays. Economics of scale (see Fact No. 1) will likely see cloud providers being able to provide far more storage far more efficiently to many more people than are catered for by existing modes of storage.

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  • Tegile, hybrid flash and the laws of the storage market - UK Data Storage Buzz
    [...] that these innovative startups will be swallowed up by the big vendors at some point, as noted in my ‘Storage and capitalism’ blog post. Not because they pose a great threat – they’re the bite of a flea in terms of revenues [...]
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  • Storage and capitalism #4: Symantec’s BackupExec 2012 blunder - UK Data Storage Buzz
    [...] Elsewhere I started to jot down thoughts about the facts of life of capitalism as they manifest themselves in the storage industry. Recently we saw another stark example: the tendency of vendors to ride roughshod over customers’ wishes. Symantec was the culprit here. It just dumped its CEO and now has to row back on changes it made to its key midrange backup product BackupExec 2012 that may take up to nine months to rectify. [...]
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