Wednesday, May 2, 2007



Denying reality doesn't change it.

What benefit did that nonsense bring to anyone in the industry?

If you had thought about it, I bet you could have predicted what the Machine would say...heck, you must have listened to their quarterly analyst call bloviating on opened yourself up wide open for Yuck and Borgzilla... (and two dozen other vendors who must have hounded poor Beth and Jo for a week to get their point of view heard) to make hay and slam you (in that nice polite yet subtley smarmy way of professional PR people and corporate bloggers...).

Well, I promised not to use this blog as a mouthpiece for any particular vendor, and I won't.

BUT (there is that BUT again...) I am going to provide sanity to market trends, technology, and hype based on my perspective with over 25 years in the industry. I guess sometimes that will hit close to home.

File Virtualization makes as much sense (or more) than any other form of storage virtualization.

Customers love it because it simplifies life, saves money, and puts a little negotiating leverage back in their pocket. Virtually every major money center bank in the world is already using file virtualization - major healthcare, manufacturing, media, etc. This isn't BS - I've looked a lot of them in the eye.

All the benefits of virtualization - any form of it - come at some expense to the vendors being virtualized. RAID controllers commoditized disk drives to some extent. Block virtualization (network or host or Tagmastore based) attempts to commoditize RAID arrays. The march is relentless. Vendors have to keep running (not climbing...running) up the ladder of innovation while commoditization (enabled by virtualization) burns the rungs off the ladder underneath them.

I have watched it happen in this industry 10 times in the last 20 years at least. Always the same story, always the same denials from the established vendors, always the same seemingly outrageous claims from the virtualizers...

Discrediting an innovative trend for not producing profit is denying reality - its the folly of established vendors defending their turf when they've lost or are losing their ability to innovate. No secretary needs a PC on their desk. Unix is snake oil. Those of us with DEC DNA learned that lesson the hard way.

Denigrating an emerging market segment by dismissing that no profit is being generated is either disingenuous or naiive - either way its dangerous for the established vendor - and it doesn't work. It takes time for innovation to gestate in the market. FC SANs were a sink hole of VC investment through the early 90's. Imagine denigrating FC as a technology in 1993 for not producing profit-but the direct connect vendors did. RAID, same story. SATA, yup. iscsi, yup...yup, yup, yup....

You can't change the reality of relentless innovation, virtualization, and commoditization by denying it. The storage industry is littered with company's that tried.

Those who head down this dangerous path are hereby relegated to the Storage Sanity Hall of Shame.

and yes, Kirby's Law applies to File Virtualization, too

and no, not all innovation is good, not all new products (even commoditizers) will be successful, but denying the value of virtualization in any form, residing anywhere in the storage stack, is a dangerous game.


Anonymous said...

I love it. Hell I might even use it.

AceSage said...

Resistance is...

Anonymous said...

...fine so long as you have a safeword?