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Storage market boat-rocking



Are you feeling dazed and confused? It seems that every few days another major announcement comes along that promises a revolution in storage market custom and practise.

So far this year we have had:-

1. IBM deciding to buy cloud/cluster storage start-up XIV. This was IBM, the company that sold its hard drive operations off to Hitachi GST and Xyratex. IBM just doesn't do leading-edge storage technology, apart from its little nanoscale IBM Research hammers; at least that was the way it looked until a few days ago. Now EMC, Isilon and NetApp have all got something to ponder over.

2. NetApp goes and buys Onaro cementing its enterprise data centre credentials.

3. Hitachi Data Systems decides to resell Brocade's File Area Network (FAN) gear which looks a decent fit with its BlueArc high-end NAS deal.

4. EMC and partner Dell announce a new very expandable small business array product, the AX-4.

5. Hitachi and Fujitsu decide to walk away from 1.8-inch micro-drives because of flash competition.

6. Hitachi is looking for a part sale of its HGST disk manufacturing operation or maybe a JV with Fujitsu and Toshiba.

7. Sun decides that data centres are something it will be able to do without by 2015. It will sell its products into red-shift cloud computing-offering data centres and use them itself for its business apps. Err, if everyone else follows suit then a lot of today's storage market will disappear.

8. EMC decides to act like a nimble technology startup and introduce tier 0 flash drive arrays into an enterprise storage array offering. Wow: it takes an age to introduce thin provisioning; is a trifle slow over introducing 1TB drives; and then, reacting like a viper on steroids, strikes like lightning with flash drives.

Meanwhile there was the steady stream of more everyday stuff: Copan going for an IPO; encrypting external storage drives; secure web access to NAS; Imation inventing a new tape format; that sort of thing.

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks. No-one predicted this stream of gee-they-did-what announcements. About the only ones that look predictable with hindsight were the NetApp Onaro purchase and the EMC/Dell AX-4 product.

We still are awaiting EMC's Hulk and Maui grid/cloud/cluster/whatever announcement too so there is more to come there, and there's also more Brocade data centre fabric stuff to be announced as well.

I need a holiday.

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