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Summer Heat, Baseball and Data Optimization

Whew…things are certainly heating up. Last week, Dell agreed to acquire Ocarina Networks for an undisclosed amount. As I mentioned to Chris Mellor at the Register, this was a good indication of how primary storage is, “moving from ‘bump in the wire’ compression/deduplication solutions to integrated capacity optimization”.

And, yesterday, IBM announced the acquisition of Storwize. This is another great proof point for primary data optimization going main stream. Here’s how we view these developments:

  • Primary data optimization is emerging and will gain momentum over the coming months as storage companies seek to protect margins and improve their competitive positions.
  • Optimization technologies that are out of the data path and preserve data safety and storage performance will win in the market.

From our perspective, it’s still early in the game. Both Storwize and Ocarina sold data path appliances – and that is a very challenging (some would say, impossible) business model. Both are better as “owned” assets. Here is our take on the deals.

Dell/Ocarina

We are hearing from many who are questioning this transaction.

  • Ocarina’s attempt to move from vertical (Media/Entertainment & Oil & Gas) to horizontal enterprise application will be a significant challenge. Moving from secondary and application niches to primary and enterprise – is like going from Summer League to the Big Show (baseball metaphor).
  • Ocarina signed some nice names for “meet in the market” appliance deals, but received limited to no traction since their signing.
  • Dell acquired an appliance technology (and maybe some beta code)? Is this a technology fit for Dell?
    • Dell has a limited storage portfolio today – they only own two SKUs of any significance (Windows Storage Server and EqualLogic).
    • Ocarina is a doubtful bolt on to CLARiiON which is in the middle of the Dell storage portfolio! How does Dell go end to end? Big stretch.
    • In this case end-to-end data optimization is at best point-to-point if the Ocarina embedded technology is valid!
    • EqualLogic begs the question of “what is the technology value of Ocarina content aware compression in block environments?”
    • Dell has had limited integration track record. Will Ocarina be different?
  • Dell has some heavy lifting to do. End to end in anything is hard work and not for the faint of heart. It takes a full product portfolio and a robust technology solution to make it happen.

IBM/Storwize

From our perspective, IBM’s acquisition of Storwize makes sense.

  • Compression is a great first step toward data optimization for IBM.
  • If combined with a unified deduplication capability, IBM could have a best of breed data optimization solution giving IBM a lead on its competitors.
  • Storwize compression today is an “in the data path” operation. From our perspective, that reason alone makes sense for IBM to own it – lock, stock and barrel – so it can be embedded into their storage architectures to minimize its impact.
  • From our take, IBM hits a double (another baseball metaphor) and the heat will continue to quickly rise around the value of data optimization. How they move this forward to potentially score the winning run (yet another…) to compete with HP, EMC, HDS and now Dell, will play out over the coming months.

Permabit

There’s been much speculation around who Permabit is working with and what happens next.  We began introducing OEMs to Albireo primary data optimization about 9 months ago. We’ll confirm, we are working to enable dozens of storage products with deduplication that will enter the market in 2010-2012 and leave the speculation to Dave Raffo at SearchStorage and others as to who our partners are.  Again, it is early, but we are on a mission to provide Albireo data optimization to storage vendors to leverage their R&D and market reach and make their storage better, faster and more efficient.

We firmly believe for any company to make it past the early innings (final baseball metaphor) with an OEM data optimization solution, they need to offer the following:

  • Solid, tested architecture – seasoned
  • No performance impact – capable of handling demanding primary workloads
  • No data safety compromise – out of read path
  • Scale – to PBs of data capacity
  • Best of class dedupe rates – for massive storage savings

Albireo offers all of that and the fastest route to market for storage companies looking to add data optimization to their products. For those of you keeping score, what do you think?

Whew…things are certainly heating up. Last week, Dell agreed to acquire Ocarina Networks for an undisclosed amount. As I mentioned to Chris Mellor at the Register, this was a good indication of how primary storage is, “moving from ‘bump in the wire’ compression/deduplication solutions to integrated capacity optimization”.

And, yesterday, IBM announced the acquisition of Storwize. This is another great proof point for primary data optimization going main stream. Here’s how we view these developments:

  • Primary data optimization is emerging and will gain momentum over the coming months as storage companies seek to protect margins and improve their competitive positions.
  • Optimization technologies that are out of the data path and preserve data safety and storage performance will win in the market.

From our perspective, it’s still early in the game. Both Storwize and Ocarina sold data path appliances – and that is a very challenging (some would say, impossible) business model. Both are better as “owned” assets. Here is our take on the deals.

Dell/Ocarina

We are hearing from many who are questioning this transaction.

  • Ocarina’s attempt to move from vertical (Media/Entertainment & Oil & Gas) to horizontal enterprise application will be a significant challenge. Moving from secondary and application niches to primary and enterprise – is like going from Summer League to the Big Show (baseball metaphor).
  • Ocarina signed some nice names for “meet in the market” appliance deals, but received limited to no traction since their signing.
  • Dell acquired an appliance technology (and maybe some beta code)? Is this a technology fit for Dell?
    • Dell has a limited storage portfolio today – they only own two SKUs of any significance (Windows Storage Server and EqualLogic).
    • Ocarina is a doubtful bolt on to CLARiiON which is in the middle of the Dell storage portfolio! How does Dell go end to end? Big stretch.
    • In this case end-to-end data optimization is at best point-to-point if the Ocarina embedded technology is valid!
    • EqualLogic begs the question of “what is the technology value of Ocarina content aware compression in block environments?”
    • Dell has had limited integration track record. Will Ocarina be different?
  • Dell has some heavy lifting to do. End to end in anything is hard work and not for the faint of heart. It takes a full product portfolio and a robust technology solution to make it happen.

IBM/Storwize

From our perspective, IBM’s acquisition of Storwize makes sense.

  • Compression is a great first step toward data optimization for IBM.
  • If combined with a unified deduplication capability, IBM could have a best of breed data optimization solution giving IBM a lead on its competitors.
  • Storwize compression today is an “in the data path” operation. From our perspective, that reason alone makes sense for IBM to own it – lock, stock and barrel – so it can be embedded into their storage architectures to minimize its impact.
  • From our take, IBM hits a double (another baseball metaphor) and the heat will continue to quickly rise around the value of data optimization. How they move this forward to potentially score the winning run (yet another…) to compete with HP, EMC, HDS and now Dell, will play out over the coming months.

Permabit

There’s been much speculation around who Permabit is working with and what happens next.  We began introducing OEMs to Albireo primary data optimization about 9 months ago. We’ll confirm, we are working to enable dozens of storage products with deduplication that will enter the market in 2010-2012 and leave the speculation to Dave Raffo at SearchStorage and others as to who our partners are.  Again, it is early, but we are on a mission to provide Albireo data optimization to storage vendors to leverage their R&D and market reach and make their storage better, faster and more efficient.

We firmly believe for any company to make it past the early innings (final baseball metaphor) with an OEM data optimization solution, they need to offer the following:

  • Solid, tested architecture – seasoned
  • No performance impact – capable of handling demanding primary workloads
  • No data safety compromise – out of read path
  • Scale – to PBs of data capacity
  • Best of class dedupe rates – for massive storage savings

Albireo offers all of that and the fastest route to market for storage companies looking to add data optimization to their products. For those of you keeping score, what do you think?

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