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Storage Bin: Cool summer storage news

Ezine

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Welcome to my mid-summer meltdown, where while downing several sweet summer cocktails on my dock, I think back over the last six months about some cool (and not so cool) developments that have occurred in our space.

First, isn't it nice that storage vendors are doing well again? Maybe not so interesting to you, but of paramount importance to me. I do, after all, need to maintain my drinking dock. Most of the big guys are back in black, dragging the ego that accompanies success right along with them. I liked the humility of the vendor community back when they were sucking pond water. Back then, they acted like the customer really mattered. Those days are probably over.

Now, for those cool developments. Ever hear of NTP Software? Of course you haven't--they're in New Hampshire, for the love of God. NTP does quota management and file blocking on Windows--boring, but necessary. It just released those functions for NetApp filers, and users I've spoken to are crazy about it. Gotta figure EMC will do a deal with them next.

How about Onaro? No? How surprising. This Israeli-turned-Boston startup has solved a problem that I have been bitching about for years--change management. (See "

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Manage SAN changes with confidence") Physical changes cause a huge percentage of the problems in any reasonably sized SAN shop. Until Onaro, people relied on that time trusted storage management tool: Excel.

XOsoft? First, it doesn't even matter that this company, which you have never heard of, has more than 1,000 installations of high-end replication, business continuance and high availability. Second, it doesn't matter that they have sold all of these with about 1.5 sales people. What matters is they have a crazy Russian named Leonid running the joint who makes me feel like I'm JFK every time we meet.

Remember all the rambling we analysts did about "next-generation NAS?" You know, where you can scale in every direction by simply adding another component, which then automatically morphs into a single unified whole? Seems most faded faster than the Sox in September, but a few have made it. Isilon has been selling their systems for more than a year, with great success in the streaming space. Ibrix is about to go to general availability with a general purpose, wicked cool, NAS implementation. Spinnaker got eaten up by NetApp. Panasas is quietly making a lot of hay in high-end, large-scale applications.

Wanna know what's more annoying than duck turds on the dock? How about the fact that our biggest vendors keep selling us stuff that not only sucks, but they know it sucks and that they have better stuff right around the corner?

I'm a capitalist, and a realist, so I know that they can't push off my order until next quarter when they have mouths to feed. But really, wouldn't a little honesty about what is coming out when make you like them more, and lead to buying from happily as opposed to hating them and always feeling like you're about to end up glassy eyed like a dead sunfish because your boss is going to find out about the "greatest thing ever" that they are sure to announce six days after the "crappiest product we ever made" shows up on your doorstep. Please stop that.

So the bad news is that summer is almost over. The good news is that my 800 kids are almost back in school.

This was first published in September 2004

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