Money machine for storage startups heating up again

Storage Bin: Amazing but true: The money machine for storage startups is heating up again, but there doesn't seem to be too much correspondence between funding and potentially useful products.

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: Storage magazine: Expanding SANs: How to scale today's storage networks:

Have you ever seen an industry that believes its own bull more than this one? EMC and NetApp are both trading stocks at about a one billion PE ratio, and everyone feels good about it. Wall Street gets happy; VCs start dumping cash into startups again and you, my friends, get the benefit of hearing sales pitches from well-funded companies building absolutely nothing that you would ever consider using. What an ecosystem!

And now for something really funny: On the way to a storage trade show, an airliner has terrible trouble. The pilot comes on the PA, and in an obvious panic starts shouting: "We're all going to die!" The passengers begin screaming. One gentleman runs to the cockpit and proceeds to calm the situation in a matter of seconds, making everyone feel better--including the pilot who gets his act together and starts reacting appropriately. After making a successful crash landing, the shaken pilot seeks out the passenger with the calming influence, shakes his hand and says, "You saved me and hundreds of other people up there. How could you possibly be so calm and collected in the face of immediate death and destruction?" "Easy," said the man. "I work for Microsoft. If I panicked every time something blew up, I'd never get anything done."

Not that Cisco went out if its way to hire executives with questionable backgrounds, but I understand the new marketing message is: "Buy Cisco, or you'll sleep with the switches."

Continuing with our theme of highlighting storage vendor BS, here's a little ditty inspired by my good friend, Duncan, a VC with too much free time.

50 ways to grow your NAS box
The problem is all inside your head he said to me
The answer is easy if you do it "virtually"
Get the benefits of standards-based IP
There must be 50 ways to grow your NAS box

Seems I'm walking with a scowl upon my face
Must be in need of a global namespace
It totally sucks when I do a migrate
There must be 50 ways to grow your NAS box

Just plug on the Net, Chet
Set your IP, Lee
Bring up the mount, Count
And point it at me

Throw out the salesguy
Hope the bastard does die
Lying schmuck said this would fly
Shame on me

Just a plug out the back, jack
Must have been smoking crack
I want my files back
Before the boss sees

"A simplified mount point"
Must have been smoking a joint
Sounded like heaven
Now they're Chapter 11

Finally, isn't it about time that vendors start giving out pants at trade shows, as opposed to shirts? I have enough shirts, but could use some Intel Inside pants. Of course, we couldn't wear Microsoft pants--we'd all end up in the hospital with one virus after another. And EMC pants would be no good because I'm sure the pockets would have holes in them. Sun would probably miss the marketing opportunity and ship underwear. Veritas would give you the pants for free, but if you didn't pay maintenance, the fly would stop working. 2

This was first published in November 2003

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