Sunday 10 October 2010

Quick Thought/Rant - Storage Commodities

So just a rapid fire quick thought below :-

Now @chuckhollis make some good comments here about storage being a commodity - something of which I have some views on :)

Interestingly through the discussion Chuck still talks about the 'problem statement' from a storage technician perspective (with an introduction of diversity & complexity in the technology mix, which glosses over two major TCO cost elements - complexity & diversity of solution spaces) - until the closing section, which is where I agree with him.

You see, as far as I'm (and my CIO is) concerned storage is a commodity - however it's the physical storage that's currently a total commodity, the logical layer (software) still has a bit of a way to go to become a commodity. I think a lot of the sensible people have made the leap past caring about many of the internal storage service widgets & sprockets - and frankly, no longer care - 80% of storage products in data-centres are capable of supporting 80% of the requirements.

But I 100% agree that people around storage have to change - the processes, the eco-system, the value, the religion, the entrenched conservatism, the lack of transparency, the products, the "can't tell you in advance without a full PoC", the tools, the 'buy our magic beans' culture, the org structure, the "we're special, honest", the cost & value, the people, the sales model, the support model... All of this has to change in order to accept the fact that storage is now a commodity hygiene factor and no longer the king of the castle in the infrastructure space...

I just wish that more of the people involved would realise this!

(Oh and we'll leave the 'shiny new baubles' of mngt tool nirvana for an expensive (for anything re mngt tools is always 10x more expensive than you believe and always 0.3x the value you're told) rant another day...)

That's all for me for now - I'm still around building up a major backlog of rants, but current work (both volume and subject matter) prohibits me from posting much of it right now. Normal service should resume towards the end of the year.


  1. Ian

    Agreed; the physical components of storage arrays are pretty much consistent; other than perhaps some issues around reliability/availability etc. In environments of scale, the ability to manage at much lower cost is a more appealing and desirable trait. That said, it needs to integrate into a consistent management framework.


  2. [disclaimer: I work for a storage software company that doesn't sell hardware at all.]

    I must agree that storage hardware is a commodity, but it isn't sold as if it was one -- and more importantly, customers are buying this high-margin hardware (!).

    I understand your blog posting as a call for a cultural change in the way the _whole_ storage ecosystem and business works.
    From my perspective it's the customer that has to ignite the change; I just can't see any of the big storage vendors to change their pricing / business policies anytime soon since their business "works" from their perspective.
    IMHO customers have the duty to drive the suggested cultural change. Many should be more open to alternative storage approaches, technolgoies and especially business models -- and ultimately said customers must buy said systems, of course.
    Else I see no reason for the big guys to change anytime soon.