One of the good things about being an Old Storage Geezer (OSG) is that you develop perspective. After you've seen enough real upheavals, every silly thing that comes along doesn't seem like such a crisis. If you're a lucky OSG, then your hard won perspective allows you to see a foggy bit forward as well as backward with clarity.
Right now, I am becoming fascinated with a new foggy notion. Like a song that I can't get out of my head - maybe its the lyme's, or Denny's Mad Cow - but I keep seeing visions of a quantum shift occuring in our industry. The catalyst is Nand. If these visions are right, a fundamental shift in value is likely to occur, and many of the existing industry leaders are likely to be fading memories in just a few years.
Let me put a few things in perspective for the various insects out there that will poo-poo (i can't beleive i just used that expression) my ideas, or perhaps my earned right to have any ideas about this industry at all.
Contrary to rumor, I'm really not that old in dog years. I'm about the same age as Mark, Howard, Jon, Robin, John McArthur, etc - so I guess if I am an OSG then we are all getting to be OSGers.
Old or not, I've been around long enough to have personally experienced several quantum technology shifts in this industry - and I've earned the right to expect some respect (grudging or otherwise) from those coming after.
I once made my living by being one of the best head alignment specialists in the Northeast - for 300MB Control Data Disk Drives. I bet most of you have never seen one of these - they were about the size of dishwasher and had a dozen 19" platters. We cleaned the heads with alcohol and IBM punch cards and aligned them to the servo track by hand. It was kind of fun, unless you flinched and crashed the heads. I sneezed once...omigod...that was quite a meltdown...
Then, along came Winchester and poof (i can't beleive I used that expression either) there went the osciloscope and the t-bar...and the Control Data Corporation...
A few years later, along came 51/4" disks. I was at the plant when we closed Digital's 9" winchester disk factory in Kaufbeuren, Germany. The looks on the faces of our employees - who never saw it coming, and did not understand why - stay with me even now.
Later, I led a team of great people who introduced the first hetrogeneous RAID system. Lot's of people said it couldnt be done, customers wanted to buy storage from their system vendor, customer wanted to buy storage optimized for a specific server, etc, etc. But before we knew it a whole industry sprouted up around us - proprietary disk arrays, and many companies that made them, vanished.
Then, a few years later, I woke up one night in a hotel in Colorado Springs and sketched out a diagram for a network storage architecture on the hotel stationary. I showed it to people the next day and told them this was going to be the future of storage. Most of them laughed. That diagram - sketched in pencil in 1996 - became ENSA - the Enterprise Network Storage Architecture. And eventually direct attached disk systems, and many of the companies that made them vanished...
Sometimes the attenuation on my 'future vision' is off by a few years. In 2000, we launched the concept of Managed Storage Services. The wild idea that you should let the experts take care of your storage. Too early. Only a few brave souls, like my buddies at Arsenal Digital, dug down and stayed with it - but now the idea makes perfect sense to thousands of customers, big and small alike. And, with the buzz around Google and S3, Peter and Bill's orginal SSP concept is back on center stage as well.
And of course, CDP...but that story comes in July...
The point is that some of us OSGs actually can see above the clutter - can sense patterns emerging, and if you are smart enough, and lose the arrogance of thinking you're right all the time, you might actually learn a thing or two - young whipper snapppers.
Now back to the point...the next big thing is SSD...and it is going to kick your ever loving a$$ if you don't figure it out quick.