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Keep an eye on those Object Storage critters, y'hear?

Another year in bits, bytes, and bods

Storagebod So as another year draws to a close, it appears that everything in the storage industry is still pretty much as it was. There have been no really seismic shifts in the industry, yet. Perhaps next year?

The flashy start-ups still continue to make plenty of noise and fizz about their products and growth. Lots of promises about performance and consolidation opportunities; however, the focus on performance is throwing up some interesting stuff.

It turns out that when you start to measure performance properly; you begin to find that in many cases the assumed IOP requirements for many workloads isn’t actually there.

I know of a few companies that have started down the flash route only to discover that they didn’t need anything like the IOPs that they’d thought, and with a little bit of planning and understanding, they could make a little flash go an awful long way. In fact, 15K disks would probably have done the job from a performance point of view.

Performance isn’t a product and I wish some vendors would remember this.

Object Storage - ready for takeoff?

Object Storage still flounders with an understanding of the use case problem; the people who really need Object Storage currently, really do need it, but they tend to be really large players and there are not a lot of them.

All of the Object Storage companies can point to some really big installs but you will rarely come across the installs; there is a market, it is growing but just not at a stellar rate.

Object Storage Gateways are becoming more common and there is certainly a growing requirement; I think as they become common and perhaps simply a feature of a NAS device, this will drive the use of Object Storage until it hits a critical mass and there will be more application support for Object Storage natively.

HSM and ILM may finally happen in a big way; probably not to tape but to an Object Store (although Spectra Logic is doing great work in bringing Object and Tape together).

The big arrays from the major vendors continue to attract premium costs; the addiction to high margins in this space continues. The usability and manageability has improved significantly but the premium you pay cannot really continue. I get the feeling that some vendors are simply using these to fund their transition to a different model. Let's hope that this transition doesn’t take so long that they get brushed away.

The transition to a software-dominated model is causing vendors some real internal and cultural issues; they are so addicted to the current costing models that they risk alienating their customers. If software-plus-commodity hardware turns out to be more expensive than buying a premium hardware array, customers may purchase neither and find a different way of doing things.

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