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Storage Bin: Who's hot and who's not?

The storage industry has regained some of its momentum—but it's not just the big players who are heating up. Persistence has paid off for smaller companies with big ideas.

Storage in general is hot and some--not all--of the excitement is coming from the big dogs. But there are a handful of wanna-be big dogs that are barking very loudly and stirring things up.

I love the fact that 3PAR is about to land its 100th customer--and they're all big, sophisticated shops that realized they needed utility storage functionality but couldn't get it from their primary vendors. The big guys are still so far behind 3PAR that I see a bright couple of years ahead for my odd-named friends.

I picked Bocada as one of my favorites and rightfully so. The backup reporting company tripled in size last year, has a gazillion installations and still nobody can touch them from a functional perspective. If you haven't downloaded a free trial yet, you're missing out.

Avamar Technologies spent a long time bashing its head into the brick wall of IT and telling the world that it has a new way to solve the age-old problem of backup. It seems the establishment is finally listening. And the really big shops are not only listening but buying. Life will change in this space, so it's best to embrace it.

Isilon is just killing it in the media space. The firm builds super-scalable NAS systems designed for, among other things, streaming. XOsoft sold thousands of replication/high-availability licenses with no direct sales people. It was brilliant in using Google to make sure the firm shows up when you search on "disaster recovery" or "replication." Then they get you to download code, which is installed hot with no reboot and, lo and behold, you're hooked.

iSCSI--Only a fool would have argued with me on this one (and yes, I remember who you are). EqualLogic, Intransa and LeftHand Networks have almost 1,000 customers among them and they aren't who you think they are. EqualLogic has the biggest of the big shops on its roster, not "Plumbers & Pipefitters." Network Appliance has thousands of licenses installed and will have more than 10,000 by the end of the year. And Dell will sell approximately 1 billion AX100i boxes this year.

Acopia Networks--Want a smart way to consolidate file services and data centers? These guys are writing the book.

And how about the job EMC has done by not only surviving the down times, but kicking butt all over the playing field?

So where was I wrong? I thought Permabit had it figured out and could take the world by storm with its content-addressable storage stuff. I was right about the product, but wrong about the company. Archivas has come on strong and if Permabit doesn't make some moves quickly, it will be too late. Wanna know what's next?

  • Security. We've been harping on this for quite a while, but now that Symantec and Veritas have agreed to make whoopee, expect to finally see some storage people pay attention. It's high time we started protecting our ass(ets), so security and information are going to become synonymous.
  • Information lifecycle management. What was originally a catchy phrase to allow EMC to justify the 98 things it bought over the last couple years is starting to have some meaning. Right now you can buy/do tiered storage, and in a couple of years you'll have real tools that help you put the right stuff on the right stuff at the right time. The best tool today is from Arkivio.
  • Remote/branch IT operations. Distributed processing is good, distributed data is bad. We have some cool things that enable us to minimize or eliminate remote IT, so this will be a big push over the next couple years.

Then again, what do I know?

Article 12 of 16

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