QUESTION: In your opinion, is there a market for application-specific storage systems? For example, a storage system integrated from disk to controller to software for Exchange. If so, what is a typical customer profile and what are the apps best suitable for such systems?
ANSWER: This is a great question and I think you will see a number of new entrants into the market focused on vertical acceleration and optimization plays. We've already seen a little focus here with a large OEM bringing a box to the market focused on archiving and therefore strongly pitched at the bio/pharma community with a huge need in that area. Whether these new entrants will gain traction or not I'm not sure. I think it will depend on their ability to partner with the application providers and less their ability to challenge the data center storage standard. The concern for those new vendors will be pigeon holing and there will be a constant pull to be more things to more people. The best apps to target -- usual suspects – e-mail, DBs, media, etc.