Is one of the finest guys in this industry. I wish I could be more like him.
I have known Hu since he hosted Ellen Lary and I on a whirlwind (and sometimes riotously humorous) tour of Japan and a series of meetings between DEC and Hitachi storage executives back in the early 1990's. He was fairly early on in his career then, but was so poised, articulate, and personable during that visit that it was easy to see he would one day become an industry leader, and he has...
Hu doesn't have a deceitful bone in his body. The terms Hu Yoshida and smarmy have never before been used in the same sentence until this one.
In fact, I am going to create and maintain a storage industry leader board with Hu is on the top rung. I bet he stays there for a long time.
BUT... (I have a sign somewhere at home that says, "everything before the BUT, is BS...")
Hu is wrong.
Virtualization does not just belong in the storage controller and we all know it.
Hu's not being deceitful, he's just not being clear. Virtualization as it relates to storage exists in at least 5 levels of the stack - the disks themselves, array controllers, intelligent switches, HBAs, and host based software. If I missed one or two, somebody will let me know. What I think Hu (as proxy for HDS) is trying to say that the virtualization of block mode storage should only be done in a purpose built storage controller (like Tag). Ok, that makes sense, depending on what we are virtualizing.
In fact, I would go further and perhaps state the obvious - maybe someday this obviousness will be called Kirby's Law - The initiation of virtualization is best accomplished at the layer directly above the virtualization target. (boy would I like to have a Law named after me...)
If you want to virtualize arrays, you put a virtualization layer directly above the arrays - not in HBAs or server software sitting two levels up in the plumbing. If you want to virtualize disks, you put virtualization on a storage controller not in an HBA, and so on...
Purists might argue that shades of grey exist - I myself have for years consistently argued that Tag is really an intelligent switch rather than a storage controller...and an HBA running RAID virtualization software, direct attached to a string of disks is actually a storage controller. Yeah, yeah...but stay focused on the bigger picture.
Kirby's Law (gawd, that sounds great, doesn't it?): The Initiation of Virtualization is Best Accomplished at the Layer Directly Above the Virtualization Target
If we take the above as true, the interesting discussion now becomes not where in the stack the virtualization resides , but what is being virtualized and how the virtualization is accomplished. Sustainable competitive advantage and real customer benefits can be derived from variances in endurance, sustainability, scale, performance, and other important qualities of the virtualization layer itself. More on that later...
Hu hereby enters the Storage Sanity Hall of Fame...and as you can all imagine...where there is a wall of fame, there must be a wall of...