Last week two major storage vendors made significant system announcements. Hitachi Data Systems rolled out its Hitachi Unified Storage (HUS) that has block and file support and is aimed at the mid-tier market. NetApp unveiled Dynamic Disk Pooling for the E-Series platforms. Dynamic Disk Pooling is a new storage pooling implementation enabling faster drive rebuilds than with traditional RAID.
I found it interesting that neither of these launches were coordinated with major storage events. This was a bit unexpected because most major storage announcements come just prior to storage events -– either industry-wide events or the vendors’ own shows — so the vendors have the opportunity to speak in depth with the assembled press, analysts and customers about their new products. In these cases, HDS and NetApp decided not to use any of the recent storage events or wait until the next storage event.
This raises the question of what would be considered a major storage event now.
VMworld, which occurs each August, is probably the biggest show for announcing new storage products from multiple vendors. VMworld is filled with IT professionals involved with server virtualization. And these pros usually realize that storage systems can make a large difference in the number of virtual machines supported per physical server and ultimately determine the success of server virtualization.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show held this month in Las Vegas has become another storage showcase event. There were more than 20 storage product announcements at this year’s NAB. But the storage systems at NAB have different usage characteristics than traditional IT.
There are also many storage announcements at the Supercomputing conference, with the next (SC12) scheduled for November. Super computing systems are focused on the high performance computing market.
Both NAB and SC have large numbers of attendees representing many different interest areas in their industry. NAB drew more than 100,000 attendees this year. VMworld is increasing yearly in attendance with the focus more from traditional IT than as a specialty vertical. Years ago the major announcement venues for storage were Comdex and CeBit.
Over the next two months, Symantec, EMC, Hewlett-Packard and Dell will all host their own conferences and launch products there instead of at industry-wide shows.
This means there is no longer a handful of major shows that we can look to for storage product news anymore. They can come from the remaining industry storage shows such as Storage Decisions or Storage Networking World (SNW), more targeted shows such as NAB, Supercomputing , vendor-sponsored shows, or independent of shows. You can’t stay up to speed by going to one or two shows a year anymore. Reading the coverage from SearchStorage and the other TechTarget storage sites is probably the best way to keep up with storage announcements.
(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).