Independence Day on July 4th in the United States is only a few days away but as it approaches storage companies are cautiously celebrating their independence. As they do they are either looking to survive or aggressively looking to be acquired to avoid becoming a footnote in the annals of history with Pillar Data Systems becoming the latest storage company to join the ranks of the acquired that now pledges its allegiance to a new master.
There seems to be this almost naïve assumption out there that once “the cloud” is built everything in the computing world will be better. While I certainly agree with that to a point – cloud computing and cloud storage technologies stand to solve some very thorny problems within IT – there is one question that companies seem to be turning a blind eye to: “Who owns the cloud?”
The start of every decade new trends emerge that do more than influence opinions and behavior for a few months or years. Instead they are megatrends that fundamentally shape and mold an industry for the entire decade and influence innovation that will come in the decades to follow. Right now four such megatrends are emerging that are reshaping datacenters as a whole and are changing how hardware and software are being delivered to them.
Lately I have spent quite a bit of time talking about and defining different cloud terms. But the last few weeks have provided me with some additional perspective in terms of what people are looking for from “the Cloud.” They don’t just want “the Cloud” – they want the ability to manage the cloud and be in control of the data they put there and that inability to do so is what still gives users pause about “the Cloud.”
EMC World is always a crazy, energetic, bop-till-you-drop type event and this year’s EMC World was no exception. Highlighted by keynotes from EMC’s CEO Joe Tucci, VMware’s CEO Paul Maritz and a closing night customer appreciation event that featured the wildest hats I have ever seen and a performance by The Fray, EMC World 2011 was both fun and informative. But now that the dust has begun to settle, I had a chance to reflect on what I had seen and heard to consider what my top three takeaways from EMC World were.
Back in 2003 hardly anyone had heard of a small but rapidly growing technology company called VMware. But since that time VMware literally exploded to become the dominant player in enterprise server virtualization. Now the same forces that propelled VMware to the top of the server virtualization heap are at work again.
As part of his opening remarks during his keynote on Tuesday morning, Symantec’s CEO Enrique Salem shared a comment that was made to him by a Symantec user, “We are in the middle of a time of profound meaningful change.” Truer words were never spoken as enterprises of all sizes are facing a broad spectrum of technology changes that are unequaled in this modern era of computing.
Cloud. Cloud! Cloud!! That’s all I hear these days. Cloud computing. Cloud storage. Private Cloud. Private Storage Cloud. Public Cloud. Public storage cloud. Hybrid cloud. Hybrid storage cloud. Enterprise cloud. Consumer cloud. Cloud archive. Cloud backup. You name it, there is a cloud term to go with it. Further, no matter which vendor you talk to, everyone has a cloud solution even if the product looks just like it did five years ago before the cloud craze began. So it begs the question, what do these cloud terms mean???
The recent outage at Amazon Web Services coupled with the news that Iron Mountain is exiting some of its storage cloud lines of business has created quite a stir in the storage industry. But many of the conversations in which I have been involved have centered on how some users have been – consciously or unconsciously – applying enterprise expectations to the services that existing cloud storage providers offer. So the questions becomes, “Who is responsible for creating these unrealisticly high expectations – cloud service providers, users or some combination of both?”
The cloud was back in the forefront of the news this past week and it was not all good news. First there was the news early in the week that Iron Mountain was suspending some of its cloud storage offerings while just yesterday Amazon Web Services had its own set of troubles as a number of websites that it hosted were either offline or experiencing degraded performance. The net effect of this was other cloud providers in the business getting a bit shook up.
Acquisitions and mergers are becoming all the rage in the storage industry and this past week did not disappoint. On Monday storage reseller Promark announced it was going to merge with IceWEB and then, just two days later, NetApp announced its intentions to acquire Engenio, LSI Corp’s external storage unit.
As more organizations explore the possibility of moving data into the cloud, the first question they are bound to ask is, “How do we seamlessly move what we already have into the cloud?” No organizations are more concerned with this transparent data movement than service providers and enterprises that have a lot to gain but just as much to lose if problems arise.
Ever since Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel announced the formation of VCE, The Virtual Computing Environment Company, on November 3, 2009, there has been a fair amount of debate as to how VCE will operate. Many of the questions focus on what benefits VCE will deliver to enterprises now and what enterprises should ultimately expect from VCE in the future. Having recently attended the EMC Analyst Days Event in New York on January 17th and 18th, it is much clearer as to what VCE is delivering today and how it is laying the foundation to help make enterprise private clouds “Great” in the very near future.
Last week Tuesday I began to reflect on the most read blog entries on DCIG’s site this past year in terms of the number of page views they received. In that blog entry I covered the blog entries that came in at numbers 8, 9 and 10 on DCIG’s site in 2010. Today I want to pick up by covering the blog entries that come in the middle – from #7 down to #4.
This is one of my favorite times of the year as I look back on some of the most popular blog entries on DCIG’s site in the past year based on the number of page views. What makes it so intriguing for me is that it is similar to looking at a big wrapped gift under the Christmas tree and not knowing exactly what is in it. Every year I am never completely sure until this week which blog entries which will make up the Top Ten on DCIG’s site as the most read. This year is no exception.
SMBs are being confronted with some tough choices right now when it comes to backup and recovery. While most want to use disk as their primary backup target, trying to balance recovery time objectives (RTOs), getting their data offsite and still keeping their costs under control makes this a fine line to walk. However an interesting answer to this problem was jointly presented to me last week at SNW by Imation and BDT Products.
Now that the acquisition of 3PAR by HP is a done deal, there are three big questions on the minds of many. How will 3PAR’s InServ Storage Servers fit into HP’s overall storage portfolio? Is HP’s relationship with HDS over? Does HP keep its EVA line of storage? These are some of the questions I was able to get answered this week when I met with Craig Nunes, the new HP Director of StorageWorks Marketing at Storage Networking World (SNW) 2010.
The combination of cloud computing, cloud storage, inexpensive hardware, virtualization and heightened user demands for near real time backup and recovery are creating a crisis in traditional backup methodologies. It is a crisis in the sense that there is no way any emerging virtualized data center is going to find that how these backups work and are managed even slightly acceptable in the very near future. This suggests that in 2011 the transformation in backup that many have predicted will occur and it will go well beyond just deduplicating backup data stored to disk.
Now that the bidding war between Dell and HP for 3PAR has subsided with HP emerging the victor, the question becomes, “Which storage company is on Dell’s 2010 Christmas shopping list?” While there are still a good number of storage companies available, when one takes a hard look at which companies are the best fit for Dell, the list gets pretty short pretty quickly.
After a final flurry of exchanges yesterday with Dell first outbidding HP and then HP re-upping its bid for 3PAR to $33, Dell’s management finally announced that it was pulling out of the bidding for 3PAR leaving HP the likely victor in the battle for 3PAR unless some last minute suitor appears. But now that the bidding for 3PAR appears to be over, there are two important questions to be answered. First, was HP’s bid as haphazard as it appeared? Second, what does this acquisition mean for HP? The news is better than most have been led to believe.