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Compellent - the billion-dollar storage company?

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And in 2010

Turning to 2010, Compellent will introduce 10gigE iSCSI, both as a target and an initiator. Synchronous Live Volume will be introduced, meaning two separate Compellent SANs can run in active:active mode with automatic failover, and obviously, a sufficiently high bandwidth link will be needed between them.

The CDrive audience requested tighter NAS integration, more scalability and more performance. Currently, Compellent provides a Windows Storage Server-based NAS gateway. High-end NAS vendor Exanet - which has the leading SpecNFS benchmark score - is a sponsor of Compellent's CDrive and used by Compellent's channel when more NAS features are required than the Windows-based product can provide. No decision has been made about how this better NAS functionality will be delivered by Compellent but it should be delivered.

A new Series 40 controller will be introduced. Yes, Compellent is aware of Nehalem and evaluating it, but no Series 40 processor decision has been made yet. SAS 2 is also expected in 2010 with customers simply adding a 6Gbit/s SAS 2 card into their Storage Centers. Compellent also expects to introduce 2.5-inch small form factor drives as well, possibly with either 24 drives in a 2U enclosure or 48 in a 4U box.

Compellent also has distributed data centre support on its roadmap, some time after Synchronous Live Volume.

Unchanging basic business model

Compellent has no intentions of changing its basic business model of having a single architecture-based upgradable product line with a single and perpetual license for all software features and sales fulfilled by the channel. It will assist in sales but the channel gets the deal - always.

Its aim is to provide efficient storage with no wasted space and a highly efficient management interface with smart automation of functions. It sees no need to introduce new product lines to introduce new features like SSD, citing EMC's introduction of its new CX4 Clariion as the only way for Clariion users to get both SSD support and future FCoE support. That means CX3 users have to upgrade and re-license software and so forth.

Compellent users simply upgrade their existing controllers, possibly with nothing but firmware, and get new Storage Center features like SSD and FCoE support.

This single line product range could be a imitation for Compellent. Certainly, rivals will say so, asserting that the product architecture is mismatched to customer needs at the very low-end and the very high-end, however good it is for Compellent's sweet spot of the small and medium enterprise.

Compellent will rebut this, saying every other storage supplier could choose to do what it is doing but has decided not to, based on technology limitations or business model need. Compellent is a disruptive fore in the storage industry because of his deliberate avoidance of architectural or business model-based storage product limitations.

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