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No one's likely to get rich selling disks in '14... but it won't stop 'em trying

2014: The year when everyone realises there's more to storage than VMware?

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Storagebod As we ended 2013, we saw both winners and losers in the world of flash, for example: Violin Memory crashing as it struggled to increase sales and reduce burn; yet Pure Storage seem to be on a stellar rise - and hiring like maniacs, I hear.

A UK launch is imminent and its is going to be an interesting one to watch. All-flash arrays are still very niche and even companies who need them are holding off on making any big decisions.

I’ve already spoken to a hybrid vendor about this very topic. For them, pushing their hybrid line this year is good enough for most cases; it's tied to the virtualisation use-case. And yes, VDI all over their Powerpoints is a use-case. 2014, the year when VDI happens!

I expect that I’ll spend time with more hybrid vendors who are playing some kind of chicken with SSD/Disk ratios: how low can they go? However, I’m also seeing more KVM/Openstack appearing on roadmaps as they begin to realise that VMware might not be the only game in town.

I’m sure we’ll see more hype around hyper-convergence as attempts continue to build a new mainframe – and I shall continue to struggle to work out why anyone wants to.

I like being able to scale my infrastructure in the right place; I don’t want to have to increase my compute to increase my storage and vice versa. Flexibility around compute/storage and network ratios is important.

Yet convergence of storage and compute will continue and there’s potentially some real challenge to the traditional storage technologies there. If I was building a new infrastructure today, I’d be looking hard whether I needed a SAN at all. But I wouldn’t be going straight to a hyper-converged infrastructure; there be dragons there, I suspect.

I’ve already had my first vendor conversation where I’ve suggested that they are actually selling a software product and perhaps they should drop the hardware part. That and asking why the hell were they touting their own REST API for cloud-like storage… if industry giants like EMC have struggled against the Amazon juggernaut, what makes the smaller players think they're any different?

And marketing as differentiation will probably continue, especially as the traditional vendors get more defensive around their legacy products. No one's likely to get rich selling disks anymore, but it won’t stop them all from trying. ®

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