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The Dynamics of Change Are in the Air
As an uninvited guest to the already crowded SAN party, the entry of Cisco is already causing confusion and consternation among hardware vendors, just as Microsoft’s storage entry potentially threatens software vendors. Comments have ranged from Cisco is validating the SAN market (which was already quite viable and needed no external validation) to Cisco doesn’t understand storage networking (when in fact it only needs to know how to market storage networking).
Although Cisco did fail to make any significant headway with the NuSpeed iSCSI line, the Andiamo investment has at least produced a workable Fibre Channel fabric. As other vendors have shown repeatedly, it doesn’t take the best speeds and feeds or bells and whistles to win market share.
As anyone who has tried to market storage knows, however, storage has little resemblance to traditional data communications. Storage is a much more conservative marketplace with longer sales cycles and due diligence on products. In the end, customers must safeguard their data assets with technologies that have established trust and reliability in the market. This naturally favors established SAN vendors with proven track records in storage and whose customers are less vulnerable to aggressive marketing. Still, the changing dynamics of the storage market will undoubtedly force all vendors to be more creative in providing robust and affordable SAN solutions.