Analyst Love and Loathing in the Storage Industry

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What do you really love about storage and what are your pet peeves? Enterprise Storage Forum surveyed a collection of storage luminaries. Here are their answers. The results, in some case, were surprising.

Love: Hybrid Hard Disk Drives

Greg Schulz, an analyst at StorageIO Group, just loves hybrid hard disk drives (HHDDs). He uses them in laptops, workstations and servers in addition to traditional HDDs and solid state devices (SSD). Instead of waiting for the higher capacity SSDs to come down in price or limiting the amount of data and information storage, he uses HHDDs to bridge that gap.

“They provide a great balance in a cost-effective and productive manner to SSD and HDDs,” he said. “HHDDs give me the performance I need to be more productive while having the space capacity to keep more information readily accessible.”

Hate: Petty Litigants

Molly Rector, chief marketing office at Spectra Logic, is very specific about what makes her blood boil — companies that form a business plan based on the minutia of patent law. These outfits, unfortunately, are becoming commonplace.

“I hate when companies make a business out of patent litigation on tiny little details that are a legal ‘nit’,” she said. “This drives up costs for users, distracts from solving real problems and is slowing down real innovation.”

Love: Clouds

Although not a cheerleader for clouds, Schulz’ love comes with their practicality and as a complement to existing storage.

“Don’t be scared of clouds; instead, be prepared — do your homework, figure out why you want or need to go to cloud, beyond cost avoidance,” said Schulz. “I use clouds along with traditional techniques and like them so much, I even wrote a book about it called ‘Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking.'”

Hate: Midrange Neglect

Mike Karp, an analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates, has a bone to pick with regard to midrange neglect. He said he believes too many large vendors are addressing the midrange market with “light” versions of their enterprise products, essentially telling midrange IT managers their data just isn’t as important as is the data at the enterprise level.

“Try pitching that concept to the manager of midsized company, and watch your sales rep get frog marched out the door,” said Karp.

Love: Backup

Backup is supposed to be something that you tolerate, not love. Not so, said Eran Farajun, executive vice president at Asigra. Here is what he likes about it.

“Backup and recovery continues to be an area of evolution as new technologies address the complexity and inefficiencies of traditional data protection,” he said. “For enterprises, we expect there to be increasing adoption of hybrid cloud backup, as it is proving to deliver onsite data recovery with offsite protection while centralizing these processes across all systems.”

Hate: Tape

Eric Thacker, senior director of marketing at Panzura, is very much in the “tape sucks” camp.

“Tape is a technology whose day has long passed, yet it still lingers on through inertia, fear of change and perception of cost leadership,” he said. “Tape’s demise is inevitable.”

Love: High Performance Computing

Rector is in love with universities and researchers in the high performance computing (HPC) market. She finds them to be down to earth, smart users who have solved “big data” problems for many years and understand the benefit of high density, power-efficient storage systems that can scale.

“They know the importance of foundational storage technology — when to use tape, when to use disk, when to dedupe and when not to dedupe,” said Rector. “They have already solved many of the problems associated with big data in their environments and are already challenging vendors to develop the products that will be needed five years from now to ensure the data integrity and availability of everything being created today will be accessible years from now.”

Hate: Cost Cutting

Schulz isn’t fond of short-sighted cost cutting. He advises organization to take a deeper look at where costs are being incurred or what the costs are to support a given function such as backup/restore, a home directory, a virtual machine, a database and so forth.

“As a result, broad cost cuts are taken vs. looking to removing complexity, which results in taking cost out of doing something that has a dual benefit of helping out financial (e.g., the old ROI) and enabling agility, flexibility and organizations’ speed to deliver information services maximizing return on innovation (the new ROI),” said Schulz.

Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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