Vendors can’t just talk storage any more

HDS’ CTO for Storage Architectures says storage vendors need the products to discuss more than just storage with clients and prospects.

Storage vendors cannot talk about just storage any more, according to Claus Mikkelsen, Hitachi Data Systems’ (HDS’) Chief Technology Officer for Storage Architectures.

“We [the storage industry] are only part of the larger equation,” he told SearchStorage ANZ in an interview today. “I love storage and I can talk about it all day. But there are network implications, server implications and so on.” Data centre simplification and consolidation is also making it silly to talk storage alone, as these projects – and the virtualisation layer they introduce – mean

Those implications, Mikkelsen said, mean that discussing storage in isolation is futile. It’s also one of the reasons HDS introduced its Unified Compute Platform.

But while Mikkelsen believes that discussions about storage alone are no longer useful to customers, he believes that discussions about the capabilities of storage appliance remain extremely important.

“Data growth means data stores have reached a size at which people cannot manage it,” he said, citing one customer whose data blew out from 30 terabytes to one petabyte. “It is incomprehensible anyone can manage a petabyte without help from the array.”

“You need to get the storage computer to do it.”

The key function he feels arrays should offer undertake is tiering.

“The next wave is dynamic tiering,” he said, citing thin provisioning and solid state disks as the last two technologies to advance storage management.

But one technology Mikkelsen is a little cooler on is cloud computing, a term he feels has been applied to so many ideas that it has become “overhyped.”

That’s not say Mikkelsen does not believe in the cloud, or the data centre consolidation technologies that are making it possible.

“It [cloud] is a clever term for what has been going on in the industry for a while,” he said. “It’s become an umbrella term.”

Organisations that expect clouds to be a magic bullet may therefore be disappointed.

“Any company with multiple applications will have multiple levels of security and so on. [Private cloud] infrastructure needs to be able to identify with that,” and doing so may not always be easy.

He also expressed reservations about public clouds.

If you are an established data centre you will be slow to adopt public clouds,” he said. “It’s hard to pinpoint a use case that fits,” given the investment in data centre infrastructure and supporting tools covering issues like security.

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