. . . And Whiptail's commodity drives that aren't

Whiptail is another all-flash array vendor. Unlike Violin Memory it doesn’t mince any words about being an SSD vendor or not.

It sells hardware that ranges from 3 TB to 72 TB; a head/controller on top of Intel 2.5″ MLC drives. Its software provides buffering intelligence that deals with flash wear issues and RAID levels 0, 5, 6, and 10 are available.

In conversation with Whiptail EMEA VP and general manager Brian Feller he made a point of stating that the vendor uses “commodity drives”. Here’s how the conversation went after that.

Me: “Commodity drives, you say? So, I could buy drives from anywhere, as a commodity, and use them in a Whiptail array?”

Brian: “No. You have to buy them from us or you invalidate the warranty because we quality assure them. We remotely monitor all our arrays so we’d know, and we’d also cut technical support.”

It’s quite remarkable that “commodity” can come to mean “a product you can only buy from one company.” It’s also staggering that Whiptail sees the need justify this on the need to QA drives from Intel. It’s not like they’re some SE Asian white box no-name vendor.

But that’s the world of storage, which sometimes feels years behind other areas of IT in terms of customer lock-in.

(For blog posts before mid-September2012 see UK Data Storage Buzz.)