Several new or updated storage systems were announced recently with several more to come in the first quarter. Why so many announcements and what is the significance?
Keeping in front of the customer with "new and improved" has become very important for the storage business. Incremental improvements in a storage system can do that. Hitachi just announced larger capacity for the 9900V Lightning by using larger disk drives and greater connectivity with a doubling of the Fibre Channel and FICON interfaces, both of which enable larger consolidation solutions. These weren't a major architectural change and did not introduce new risk for customers but will be important for some.
Entirely new products typically get more attention. The new EMC DMX product is a new hardware architecture but uses the same basic design for the embedded software thereby greatly reducing the amount of time required for a new product to stabilize. This will set the stage for EMC to leverage the new product with additional versions and features for several years, giving them more opportunity to "keep in front of customers."
Quite naturally, if we haven't heard anything new about a product for a period of time, we assume that it is "the old stuff" and there will be something new to replace it soon or that vendor is exiting the market. In the future, look for an almost quarterly announcement of new products or improvements in current product. Competition is a good thing for the customer.
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This was first published in February 2003