Storage Channel Pipeline

February 3, 2010  12:33 PM

Storage virtualization: Big storage thinking in a small package

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

IT folks tend to keep their heads down, focused on the problems at hand (fighting fires?). There seems to be less interest (or fewer resources) to take a more strategic approach to resolving issues. Short-term fixes that address symptoms win out over long-term solutions that address the bigger problems. This is the reality of lower budgets, but it’s also the aversion people have to change and the difficulty of getting complex projects approved. Point solutions are just more doable. But the fact remains that IT still needs some long-term thinking and not just a string of point solutions. And VARs need the kind of project work that longer-term thinking can generate. After all, fulfillment doesn’t pay the bills like real integration does. But how do you get customers to think beyond the next box they need — or think they need? Storage virtualization is good place to start. Continued »

January 29, 2010  11:03 AM

Going through the motions on disaster recovery, compliance, green IT initiatives

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

“So much to know, so little time.” IT’s got a tough job. The average IT practitioner has to know enough about a very large number of subjects and technologies. I’ve heard the sys admin’s job described as being like a farmer: They’re out there on their own and have no one but themselves to rely on when something goes down. In reality, they have tech support for each of their systems and a number of user groups and on-line resources to use. But you get the point.

Management usually drives requirements for IT to be up to speed on a lot of things, like disaster recovery planning, regulations and compliance, green IT initiatives, etc. Due to a lack of time, resources, interest and/or a pressing need (“if it ain’t broke …”), IT folks just don’t get around to researching and learning all that they would like to — or all that they’re responsible for. So what happens? Continued »

January 26, 2010  1:30 PM

When customers don’t need cloud services

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

Cloud storage is not a product, it’s a technology. You may talk with people who say they need cloud services, but they don’t. What they may have a need for are one or more of the storage applications this technology is used in. Some common ones are: backup/data protection, file sharing, email and reference data archiving, and general file storage. Cloud services technology enables a number of benefits that these applications can leverage. Many of these are more compelling for businesses that don’t have large IT infrastructures, but not always. Continued »

January 22, 2010  5:41 PM

Three data backup solutions for VARs to consider

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

I know that as far as storage and technology discussions go, data backup solutions aren’t sexy. The topic may not get you a lot of outright meeting invitations when you bring it up on the phone, but everyone still does data backup, and believe it or not, it’s still one of the top issues companies have and plan to address. When it comes to data backup, I’ve heard it described like this: “The way to improve a backup is to do less of it.” Hmm. Now there’s a product that could have some esteem issues (see our last post). But seriously, data backup is probably the most universal storage issue, with more types of solutions available than any other storage technology area.


With that in mind, here are three data backup solutions that you may not be aware of. Each of these companies takes a different approach to the problem, but all provide viable options for different groups of customers, and all are actively focused on building their VAR bases. Continued »

January 20, 2010  1:18 PM

Storage product benefits are useless without good product descriptions

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

If you remember the “esteem movement” of the 1970s and early 1980s (maybe you read about it in psychology class?) you may recall this rhetorical question: “Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?” The answer went something like this: “Because you may not like who I am, and that’s all that I have.” (There is a storage point in here — stay with me.)


A lot of vendors must be afraid that people won’t like them, because product literature and especially PowerPoint presentations seem to be stuck in the practice of not telling the reader who they are or what they really do, at least not upfront. Everyone’s afraid to come out and say, “Our product is a box that sits in the data path, records this data set and gives you that information about it.” Continued »

January 15, 2010  3:42 PM

Good data storage technology won’t fix bad storage habits

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

Rich Castagna, editorial director for the Storage Media Group at TechTarget, made a great point in his recent Storage magazine editorial “Can we survive consolidation?” He said that successful technologies like server virtualization, data archiving and deduplication, while sold as solutions to existing data problems, may be creating other problems as well. They essentially don’t “fix” key issues, like the need to really reduce backups or to get rid of worthless data instead of finding a way to store more of it. This is an interesting irony, but one that may have an explanation. Continued »

January 12, 2010  10:09 PM

How to say “green IT” in any storage conversation

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

I was looking at some articles on “green IT” and got to thinking about the whole green topic in a sales situation. When you’re presenting to a customer, there’s always the point where you have to decide which features to emphasize (I know, people only buy benefits, but that’s another discussion). So when do you pull out the green IT feature, and how hard do you push it? Continued »

January 10, 2010  11:14 PM

Clustered NAS: Another requirement for VARs in 2010

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

In this post I’m continuing to discuss the top 10 enterprise data storage news stories of 2009 and what they can mean for VARs. Last year saw a “NAS renaissance,” as unstructured data continued to outgrow structured data. The use of NAS to support server virtualization also added to its popularity. This brings us to clustered NAS.


Remember the SAN vs. NAS controversy in the early part of this past decade? Fibre Channel was going full steam, and it seemed that NetApp alone was fighting the NAS fight. It was kind of like the “tastes great/less filling” Miller Lite beer ads. Initially, Fibre Channel became the accepted solution for shared storage, especially in high-performance applications. But Gigabit Ethernet deployments became commonplace, and people realized that the perceived performance advantages of block-based, Fibre Channel SANs weren’t enough to ignore their complexity and higher cost, especially when compared with the relative ease of network-attached storage. Continued »

January 4, 2010  10:32 PM

Solid state hard drives: A requirement for VARs in 2010

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

In this blog post, I’m continuing a look at some of the most significant news stories and trends of the past year and discussing their impact on storage VARs. This entry focuses on solid state hard drives.


The economy has slowed the adoption of solid state hard drives somewhat (although SSD manufacturers are still showing strong growth), but it’s pretty clear that SSD will continue to see strong demand. And, all of the major disk players are offering an SSD option. So, if you’re a VAR selling alternative solutions, building storage systems with only spinning disk could put you at a disadvantage. Continued »

January 4, 2010  11:07 AM

Data deduping goes beyond backup

Eric Slack Eric Slack Profile: Eric Slack

In an article on, “Top 10 enterprise data storage news stories of 2009,” Beth Pariseau does a great job of recapping some of the interesting developments of this past year. In this blog and the next few, I’m going to mention some of these developments and the opportunities they present for VARs. First up on my list is data deduping.


Continued »

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