Author
 Tom Trainer

Profile of Tom Trainer

Network Computing Blogger
Blog Posts: 65
Tom Trainer is founder and president of analyst firm Analytico. Prior to founding Analytico, Trainer was Principal Storage Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat, and Director of Marketing at Gluster prior to its acquisition by Red Hat. Tom has worked as managing senior partner at Evaluator Group, and also held senior positions at EMC, HDS, Auspex, and Memorex-Telex during his 30-year career in IT. You can follow him on Twitter at @itstorage
Articles by Tom Trainer

EMC ViPR: Promises to Keep

10/23/2013
ViPR, EMC's latest storage offering, promises to usher in the era of software-defined storage, but the company has some work to do to make its promise a reality.

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Clouds Cannot Be Contained In A Box

11/28/2011
A big part of the value proposition of cloud is to ensure that you have continuous access to your data, and that you've moved beyond the physical limitations of a single box or a single data center or a single geography. While the move to the cloud can allow greater leverage of compute servers and storage, it also provides the ability to move away from aging, monolithic storage and servers, and gives cloud customers access to their data irrespective of any technical issues that may be going on a

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IBM SONAS On Life Support As BlueArc Goes To HDS

9/9/2011
You may have heard of an oddly named storage product from IBM called SONAS. It stands for Scale-Out NAS. I’m concerned that, like with so many other monolithic products, SONAS may be out of gas--as Hitachi Data Systems fills up its tank with higher octane from BlueArc. As always, there’s more to the story of the BlueArc acquisition than meets the eye.

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Health Care Providers Shifting to the Cloud

7/26/2011
With the unstoppable growth of medical imagery, many health care providers are realizing that trying to do a data migration to a new storage system every few years is becoming next to impossible. Some providers I spoke with say that unless they shift to the cloud, they'll never be able to even fathom catching up with their data growth as they'll be stuck in a never-ending cycle of rebuying their next storage system and migrating data.

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Monolithic Scale-Out NAS Is Out Of Gas

6/3/2011
The cloudwashing that’s running rampant throughout the storage industry has clearly got to stop. My latest observation is that traditional monolithic scale-out NAS vendors are so aggressively selling their offerings for the cloud that their claims are completely out of control.

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Building A Sustainable Cloud (And More Predictions)

5/13/2011
I thought that the cloud was supposed to be about the aggregation of thousands of low-cost servers and disk drives, integrated together with a web services layer and a robust object store, all accessed as a pay-as-you-go service. Wasn't that how cloud service providers were supposed to make money--by using commodity components with their own "secret sauce" software on top? High-cost legacy infrastructure products are not congruent with building a long-term sustainable cloud.

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Forecast: Shakeups Looming in the Cloud

3/18/2011
There are a number of rumblings in the cloud. One IT behemoth is believed to be eying a strategic acquisition of a powerful cloud software and storage offering, another seems to be repositioning an existing product, and VCs sharpen their focus on what really adds value in the cloud. There are a number of pivotal events that I believe will transpire over the next year in this rapidly changing and expanding market. From start-ups to behemoths, there will be significant changes that will shake up t

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Could EMC Become The Amdahl of Cloud Storage?

2/11/2011
There is no doubt that EMC has shipped some Atmos storage since its introduction. Yes, EMC has Atmos. And the company claims that Atmos is specifically designed for the cloud. However, I believe that there are fundamental issues with the way EMC sells Atmos to customers. First of all, if Atmos is cloud storage, then it should be sold on a usage basis. Customers should be charged only for what they use--not for petabytes of capacity up front. After all, isn't that the whole premise of cloud? Lowe

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Nirvanix Gains Increased Market Traction With Triad Of Cloud Solutions

1/14/2011
I blogged about Nirvanix here on Network Computing back in November, and opined that the time to execute with cloud offerings is now. I have been following Nirvanix closely since then, and speaking candidly with its customers. It is clear that the company is executing well, providing substantial value to its existing customers, gaining new customers and fine-tuning offerings in order to take the competition head on. Nirvanix has its sights set on the high end of the competitive spectrum. The com

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Correlsense Makes Finding A Needle In A Haystack Easy

12/21/2010
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Correlsense, a business transaction management company, along with one of its customers, GAINSCO Insurance. We discussed Correlsense's product, SharePath, which monitors and tracks all of an application's transactions in real time, and can rapidly deliver root-cause analysis and display where transactions are slowed or stalled. In fact, SharePath can pinpoint transaction bottlenecks spanning from the discrete user client to the IT infrastructure to th

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Dell And Others Still Shopping For Storage

12/15/2010
On Dec. 13, Dell announced it has "entered into a definitive agreement for Dell to acquire Compellent ... " Dell also said it expects the transaction to be accretive to Dell non-GAAP earnings in its fiscal year 2012. There is no doubt that I, along with others in the industry, have blogged and written quite a bit on this topic over recent days. There has been no bidding war, no firing of shots across the bow from one vendor to another, and no soaring stock price in this quickly executed company

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The Win-Win-Win Scenario Of A Compellent And Dell Merger

12/13/2010
On Dec. 9, Compellent and Dell announced that they "are engaged in advanced discussions regarding a possible business combination involving the two companies." I blogged about Compellent here on Oct. 8 and one day before the joint Compellent-Dell announcement. Some voices in the industry, not associated with Network Computing, have raised thinly veiled arguments that question the sense, and value, of an acquisition of Compellent by Dell. In my opinion, Compellent will be a strong addition to bo

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Compellent - Taking On The Enterprise Challenge

12/8/2010
On Nov. 22, Compellent announced the newest release of StorageCenter version 5.4, new Live Volume software, new Enterprise Manager multisite tool capabilities, and next-generation hardware that is faster, stores more data and connects to FCoE and 10GbE iSCSI. Back in October, I wrote that Compellent was rising to the enterprise challenge. With this announcement, it's clear to me that Compellent is taking on the enterprise challenge and may be swinging the acquisition pendulum in their direction.

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Nirvanix Success Attracts Funding And New Executive Leadership

11/10/2010
Today Nirvanix announced that it has secured additional funding of $10 million dollars and has appointed Scott Genereux as President, and Chief Executive Officer. These developments are designed to fortify the company's competitive position and expand the market penetration of its Storage Delivery Network (SDN) on a massive global scale. Genereux's successful track record of building business value propositions around storage solutions bodes well for Nirvanix as the company starts to penetrate n

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NetApp Takes On EMC With Future Ready Infrastructure

11/9/2010
Today NetApp announced new high-end and mid-range storage systems, support for 2.5 inch disk drives and Solid State Disks (SSD), Data ONTAP 8.0.1, unified connectivity for FCoE, CIFS, NFS, and iSCSI, along with the OnCommand Management Suite, and FlexPod for VMware which is a pre-sized and validated data center infrastructure solution. NetApp is clearly targeting the burgeoning Virtual Machine opportunity and is building the path to a future-ready infrastructure. In my opinion, today's announcem

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Now We Know What Dell Will Do

10/29/2010
Back on September 29th, Dell announced new capabilities and services to its Virtual Integrated System (VIS) architecture. A few days before VMworld I met with senior Dell representatives in San Francisco where they explained VIS and how well the overall architecture and combined Dell services have enabled their customers to heavily leverage virtual technologies. Dell customer Black Board attended this meeting providing testimonial on the implementation of the VIS architecture and that they are

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Compellent: Rising To The Enterprise Challenge

10/8/2010
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Compellent and spend some time talking with them on a few hot topics. High on my list to talk about was getting their impression of the bidding war for 3Par. We discussed that subject and much more. I have been meaning to blog about Compellent for some time, taking a deeper look at their Auto Tiering capability, which is leading Compellent into enterprise opportunities. It appears the time is right to provide a glimpse into a storage company th

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QLogic Launches New Attack On Network Convergence Landscape

10/7/2010
QLogic's announcement today of their Adaptive Convergence strategy is the equivalent of a nuclear blast across the converged networking landscape, metaphorically leveling the competition in its wake. As I have predicted in the past, QLogic is seriously committed to the converged networking sector and is innovating at a rapid pace, gaining material market share and bringing fundamentally new technologies to market that will benefit cloud service providers and highly virtualized environments. This

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What Will Dell Do Now?

9/8/2010
For a company that prides itself on listening to its customers and delivering more than just what meets requirements, EMC received the message loud and clear from Dell about what the company is looking for in an enterprise class storage product: like a 3Par InServ. Can EMC deliver an enterprise storage array for Dell? Will Dell select a new acquisition target? Now that HP has won the bidding war, what will Dell do now?

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FalconStor VDI Solution: Economics And Performance

9/8/2010
On August 24th, FalconStor announced their new NSS SAN Accelerator for VMware Virtual Desk Top Environments, and Network Computing covered it here. FalconStor briefed me on this solution prior to their announcement, and I was impressed with it. FalconStor has been developing some highly creative storage solutions, and I thought it time to take a closer look at this one and spend some time talking with someone who is using it. To say that I was even more impressed with the FalconStor solution aft

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Virsto Virtualizes Storage I/O For Virtual Machines

9/2/2010
Back in February of this year, Virsto launched their "Virsto One" storage virtualization software product. Much was written about Virsto at that time, and they were covered here on Network Computing. I had the unique opportunity to sit down and talk with Mark Davis, CEO of Virsto, in San Francisco this week while we were both in town for VMworld. Virsto is virtualizing storage in Microsoft Hyper-V based environments. A key question for Mark was why release storage virtualization in the Hyper-V s

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Summertime Tech Bidding Wars, Part Deux

8/30/2010
In 2009, we saw what we thought was a bit of an anomaly within the Information Technology industry: a multi-billion dollar summertime bidding war between two tech heavy-weights over a smaller technology company. EMC battled it out with Network Appliance over the acquisition of much smaller Data Domain which had cornered the market on data deduplication. This year, in a similar time frame, we are experiencing another summertime bidding war, this time between Hewlett Packard (HP) and Dell over uti

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10GbE: Where Money Talks And Hype Walks

8/26/2010
Nearly everyone agrees that the 10GbE adapter market will be big. The latest forecast from the Dell'Oro Group says the market will quadruple over the next four years, reaching about $800 million. It's no wonder everyone from Broadcom to Mellanox wants a piece of the action. However, no company more than Emulex has tried to position itself as "the" 10GbE adapter company. The question is, has it worked? I don't think so.

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With 3Par Acquisition, Dell Shows They Are Serious About Storage

8/17/2010
Over the past few years, Dell has taken carefully measured and calculated steps with its storage business, namely the acquisition of EqualLogic and the pumping up its engineering and sales organization to support greater storage sales. Now, Dell makes another smart move with the acquisition of 3Par, the 10 year-old enterprise storage provider that was first to deliver thin provisioning within high-end storage arrays, as well as developing abstracted storage virtualization techniques that allow r

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Emulex & ServerEngines: A New Beginning or Armageddon?

6/18/2010
Emulex may have surprised a few people with their purchase of ServerEngines; however, many in the industry knew for some time that the company was sorely lacking control of their own destiny with regard to their struggling FCoE offering. Those keeping track of the players in the FCoE space have watched Emulex run around for nearly two years promoting the heck out of privately held ServerEngines, and ultimately it appears as though Emulex will have to cough up an absurd pile of money to finally b

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Are Converged Network Adaptors Suffocating The Virtual Machine?

5/19/2010
Last week I reviewed real-world results of a test between the Emulex UCNA and the QLogic 8152 CNA. The testing illuminated a performance delta between the products, and it demonstrated another important issue: a big difference in CPU utilization while running FCoE. For the past few months, Emulex has been making some fairly broad claims that its UCNAs can support nearly one million IOPS, which it says towers over the performance available from all other CNAs in the marketplace. Emulex said that,

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Cloud Development In Real Time - Update From EMC World

5/12/2010
In discussion with Joe Tucci this week at EMC world, Joe stated that he saw two camps taking shape with regard to cloud solutions development: The Virtualization Camp and The Verticalization Camp. Tucci and EMC are clearly in The Virtualization Camp, and I agree with them in that this is the wave of the future. Virtualization, from servers to networks to storage is here and the future looks very bright indeed for solutions that will make IT operations easier and more cost efficient.

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Big Blue Rolls-Out Features For Systems Storage

5/3/2010
During the weeks of April 12th and 19th, IBM announced the release of new features and functions for the IBM System Storage DS8700 and XIV, along with other enhancements and new products in their overall storage line up. Details of the whole announcement and a video with Doug Balog, IBM Storage Platform VP and Disk Storage Business Line Executive, can be located by clicking here.

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Storwize Focuses On Optimization Without Compromise

4/12/2010
As the embers of the last decade slowly faded away, Storwize - a Massachusetts-based, storage optimization company - quietly planned for the start of a new decade with new executives and a plan to leverage the leadership of its CEO, Ed Walsh. At the start of 2010, I noticed the press release stating that storage analyst and EMC-veteran Steve Kenniston had joined the company as vice president of Technology Strategy. I know Steve from past work experience with EMC and found him to be a great guy a

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CORAID - A Disruptive Technology In The World Of Storage

4/5/2010
On March 23rd, CORAID - a California-based storage provider - announced availability of their new EtherDrive SRX Series storage arrays and extended family of Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) for high-speed Ethernet SAN connectivity for Windows, Solaris and Linux environments. With the announcement, CORAID delivers compelling price/performance characteristics that most certainly make its technology a disruptive entry in the storage market and an attractive offering for users who need connectivity and spe

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Dell Hits Home Run With Virtual Era And Health Care Solutions

3/31/2010
On March 24th, 2010, Dell stepped up to the plate in the virtual era solutions ball game and hit a home run with their announcements and positioning of new products and services offerings. The company was well prepared and came laced up and ready to play at the Bently Reserve in San Francisco where they made their announcements and provided a partner roundtable discussion that demonstrated support for the new Dell products and solutions. In the health care space, Dell announced the new Dell Medi

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3Par Scores Another First With Enterprise Sub-Volume Optimization

3/23/2010
On March 8, 3Par announced their introduction of Adaptive Optimization for sub-volume storage tiering along with their support for SSD's within the InServ arrays. Looking back at my comments in my blog post of January 30th, it is clear that 3Par has moved past EMC with first-to-market positioning with sub-volume data optimization for enterprise-class storage arrays.

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Gorillas In The Market

3/17/2010
The lush, changing landscape of the Fibre Channel market took another interesting turn today with QLogic's announcement of their addition of the 5800V Series stackable switches to EMC's Select program of product offerings. While some may view this announcement as just another new reseller for the 20 port switch, there are several larger implications here to consider.

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Shockwaves In The Fibre Channel Switching Space

2/18/2010
Earlier this week I saw an article from the Motley Fool advising investors to be bearish on Brocade (to sell), highlighting the competitive challenges facing the company. Then, this morning I saw the challenges only get worse for Brocade, as HP and QLogic announced an OEM pact for Fibre Channel edge switches.

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Predictions For 2010: Starting With Vendors Begining With "E"

1/30/2010
So, after some holiday time off and taking care of some unexpected family business, it's time to get back into the swing of things for 2010. I thought I'd kick off the new-year with a set of predictions. But rather than do an all-encompassing set of industry predictions, I've decided to start with companies starting with an "E" first and then move on from there. Here is how I see things unfolding for three "E" vendors in the IT space in 2010. We can match them up to actual events at the end of t

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Converged Networks: Another Interesting Week - Who Is Verari?

12/10/2009
With nearly all the Tier One OEM providers now supporting native FCoE on their servers and storage systems, it's pretty clear which connectivity protocol they are betting on going forward. They all see the move to network convergence as a big shift and the cost benefits it brings to users.

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No Doubt: Network Connectivity Is A Heavyweight Bout

11/18/2009
Last week was a busy week in the world of network connectivity, and this week appears to be shaping up to be a watershed moment for the connectivity market as a whole. Last week, my colleagues at the Dell'Oro group published their market share estimates for Fibre Channel connectivity products and made mention, via caveat, of some FCoE volume estimates. Some of the vendors mentioned in the Dell'Oro report subsequently sent out press releases heralding their respective successes.

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QLogic Positions Itself As Next InfiniBand Citadel

11/16/2009
Today, with a certain amount of sangfroid, QLogic announced what can arguably be called a clean sweep via OEM relationships with HP, IBM, and SGI. The tier one systems vendors will build in the QLogic 7300 Series 40Gb/sec QDR InfiniBand host channel adapters and 12000 Series QDR switches and directors. Additionally, I have learned that QLogic has formed a collaborative relationship with Dell that will enable Dell users to deploy the 7300 adapter and 12000 switches as they build out their IB infr

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ServerEngines For Sale? A New Land Grab May Be In Play

11/8/2009
Industry sources in the investment community have told me that Ethernet NIC vendor ServerEngines may be looking for a buyer. ServerEngines is one of the key providers of 10GbE NIC connectivity. Apparently, there are a number of companies interested in acquiring the vendor, with LSI as the top suitor. LSI, which has seen its adapter business ramp up in recent quarters, wants to capitalize on a window of opportunity and gain market share from established vendors such as Emulex, QLogic and to some

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Emulex Heads Backwards At 80 MPH

10/27/2009
Today Emulex announced the general availability of its "UCNA" to channel partners. However, I think it's important to be clear about what they have actually announced: they are making ServerEngines' 10GbE NIC available to channel partners. There are neither FCoE nor iSCSI capabilities on the card; it ships with Ethernet support. From all indications, it's a ServerEngines board with an Emulex logo.

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Cisco Creates Global Market Opportunity

10/27/2009
By entering into the compute business, Cisco immediately alienated its long time OEM and reseller partners (such as HP, IBM, and SUN) that built long and strong relationships with the company. Effectively, systems vendors had to face a hard truth: they had to find alternative providers for products being sourced from Cisco. Why continue to OEM, or resell, products from a competitor's portfolio? The cash flow would only serve to support this new competitor.

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Mellanox Loses focus

10/2/2009
Mellanox was once a company with a laser-sharp focus on the HPC market. Innovation in InfiniBand switches and ASICs helped them accelerate to the top of the HPC food chain. Not only did they have great products, but the company managed to execute well and mount strong share gains. Now, Mellanox' focus seems to be shifting away from this area.

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Bets Continue To Be Placed On The FCoE Horse Race

9/2/2009
Well, we just hit a milestone in storage: considered the world's largest storage company, EMC is now implementing QLogic FCoE technology across its entire product line. This is definitely an inflection point - imagine how many FCoE cards EMC and QLogic will jointly ship. Clearly the FCoE adoption rate will accelerate now that EMC is behind this a single chip connectivity product.

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Now U See Me, Now U Don't

8/21/2009
After speaking with a number of storage and server vendors this week, it has become apparent to me that Emulex's much talked about "UCNA" is nowhere to be found. Some vendors who have standardized on Emulex's FC stack are growing increasingly concerned that their sole dependence on Emulex is causing them to be late to the game with FCoE. This means greater opportunities for Brocade and QLogic, who, as I mentioned in my previous blog, are well ahead of Emulex and its UCNA.

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NetApp Steps Up To The Plate With The Big FCoE Bat

8/12/2009
NetApp is now able to deliver its unified storage strategy to customers--integrating Ethernet, FCoE, FC, and iSCSI all unified in a single system. It's time to start providing native FCoE connectivity and unify your storage connectivity message and bring a single 10Gb E offering out soon. Users see this as a requirement this year, and they will gravitate to storage vendors who bring this connectivity to market quickly.

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Round And Round It Goes

7/7/2009
Where it stops, nobody knows... The recent events in the on-going saga of the purchase of Data Domain certainly have a lot of heads spinning. While many thought the FTC may have been a worry for EMC in its acquisition efforts, they may have actually cleared the way for a further bidding war.

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Clouds And Claims Seem To Go Hand-in-Hand

6/30/2009
I've seen something in storage that really stretches the "cloud" positioning pretty far out there. Recently, Emulex claimed they have a cloud adapter. A cloud adapter? InfiniBand adapters, Fibre Channel adapters and iSCSI adapters are well understood and deployed; but a cloud adapter?

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Inflated Vendor Claims

6/10/2009
If vendors don't tell it like it is, they are letting down their customers and channel partners. It is time to clean your act up, guys.

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Did My FCoE Prediction Come True?

5/26/2009
FCoE vendors will fight it out over OEM relationships and systems vendors will align with those hardware suppliers who are on the fast track to deliver tangible connectivity products to market.

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