PHOENIX -- The End User Council (EUC) of the Storage Networking Industry Association Wednesday released its Ten Pain Points of Storage and topping the list was the cost. The list reflects a number of surveys done by the EUC and was presented at Storage Networking World as a summary of the main issues that storage vendors need to address.
According to Marty LeFebvre, VP for technology strategy at Nielsen Media Research, Oldsmar, Fla., and a member of the EUC Governing Board, cost concerns go beyond price. Storage costs too much to buy, but it also costs too much to run and is too hard to justify. Those costs heavily influence the second major pain point: storage is too hard to grow, particularly at a switch fabric level."Because of the cost," says LeFebvre, "people start small. But when it all works [and you want to expand], you're stuck with a dead end architecture."
That leads to multiple SAN islands, management domains, and tools, creating pain points three and four: lack of ability to manage storage assets, and lack of integration and interoperability among solutions. Some relief may be coming with the announcement of 108 products by 14 vendors that have met the SMI-S Conformance Testing Program. But users at a town hall meeting held by the EUC were both supportive of the program and cautious in their expectations of how much progress SMI-S conformance will bring.
"From down in the trenches, my SRM tools will work better," says one storage architect at a large media company. "When I add something to the network, it will get discovered easily. That will make me more productive."
At the same time, users indicate that some vendors seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth. While they are complying with the standards program, they are doing so through a "wrapper" approach, keeping their core embedded management code proprietary and giving the impression that cool new features will be implemented there or through API swaps. Users questioned whether SMI-S-compliant tools will always lag proprietary features, even though technically the spec allows vendors to express proprietary features through the SMI-S interface.
"Maybe we need to insist on vendors going the next step and embedding SMI-S," suggested a storage architect.
The complete Ten Pain Points of Storage, in ranked order, are:
- Lack of ability to manage storage assets
- Lack of integration/interoperability
- Advanced features and functions are lacking
- Increasing complexity
- Poor service/support
- Ill informed and educated marketing channels
- Lack of robust automation
- Undelivered promises