Areas of Need

Within the scope of technologies that we cover here at Storage Switzerland I think there are three areas of need of larger vendors. The biggest may surprise some: Solid State Storage. The current integration of solid state by the major storage vendors has been lacking and while they are getting better, I think that vendors will identify this as a key hole in their offerings for the next year. Larger storage vendors have to deal with reality; shelves that were designed for mechanical drives simply can’t support the performance capabilities of solid state technology. Also for vendors like Dell, HP and IBM there is the server aspect to consider. Companies like *Texas Memory Systems and Fusion I/O are continuing to make inroads with PCIe based SSD solutions to satisfy the demands of servers that have maxed out their RAM memory capabilities. A strong case can be made for using PCIe instead of high RAM capacity.

The second is storage applications, especially as it relates to backup and recovery. Some, like EMC, have plenty of applications; others are lacking. Also there is still a general shortage, in VMware-specific backup and recovery. As we discuss in our recent article “VMware Backup: Feature or Platform” Storage Switzerland clearly sees VMware as a platform and it is one that many larger vendors have inadequately taken advantage of. The ability of solutions like those from *Veeam and *Quest/Vizioncore to offer VMware specific backup capabilities. Veeam for example has very interesting recovery in place options.

In the application area I would also include storage optimization technologies, specifically deduplication. EMC took care of its issue with the purchase of *Data Domain, as did IBM to a large extent with *Storwize and Dell with their purchase of *Ocarina Networks. Other major vendors still need to make some decisions and as we stated in our article “The Deduplication Stakes Are Raised” they need to do it quickly. I can’t decide if *Permabit is a take-over candidate or if they would be better off as the defacto deduplication OEM, but either way primary storage vendors should be looking at this technology.

The third area of need is of course, in storage itself. This area, I think, will take time to develop as most of the larger vendors (the buyers) have made significant acquisitions relatively recently. What has to happen here is that one of the buyers needs to come to the realization that there’s a weakness in their current product lineup and it needs to be replaced. A good example of this is HP’s apparent admission that EVA was not going to cut it and they needed to buy *3PAR and pay a premium to make sure that Dell didn’t. A similar case can be made with NetApp’s failed attempt to buy Data Domain and EMC’s subsequent success.

At some point these larger companies are going to need to admit to a weakness in their current product line and then decide if they are going to develop that capability in house or go out and buy it. Make no mistake, some will come to the conclusion that they need a little extra in their product mix and smaller storage vendors will be bought.

In my next entry we will name some names and suggest a few acquisitions that we think make sense, or at least seem likely.

George Crump, Senior Analyst


: Areas of Need