Storage

12:01 PM
David Hill
David Hill
Commentary
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iWave Raises The Flag For Storage Automation

One of the fascinating things about the IT industry is its role as an ongoing incubator of innovation that impacts the lives of individuals, organizations and society. Now, if Raymond Kurzweil is to be believed, that trend will continue with no foreseeable end in sight. One hotbed of IT innovation is automation, particularly storage automation. And iWave plans to be a trend setter in storage automation.

One of the fascinating things about the IT industry is its role as an ongoing incubator of innovation that impacts the lives of individuals, organizations and society. Now, if Raymond Kurzweil is to be believed--I agree with him, as you can easily tell--that trend will continue with no foreseeable end in sight. One hotbed of IT innovation is automation, particularly storage automation. And iWave plans to be a trend setter in storage automation.

In fact, iWave highlights another fascinating thing about IT: that innovation is not the exclusive province of big IT vendors; small IT vendors have the opportunity to play major roles, as well. Now, big IT vendors have larger financial resources that enable them, if they wish, to tackle any number of projects simultaneously. Those with ongoing research capabilities may tackle larger projects and those that last for a long time (that is, many years) without delivering a real product. Moreover, large companies can risk failures as long as those projects that hit it big more than compensate for all the ones that failed to deliver sufficient value.

However, even though smaller companies cannot engage in a similar wealth of projects, and failure of a product development project may mean their own failure, they still have at least one advantage: They can tackle innovative projects without worrying that they might cannibalize existing profitable products or businesses. Moreover, smaller companies may be more nimble, as they are not encumbered by the organizational constraints and restrictions that often exist in larger vendors.

Now, storage automation, which iWave is targeting, is an especially important area. But before we see what iWave is doing, let’s review what automation is all about.

IT goes through terminology fads that represent (sometimes) major trends. ("Cloud" and "big data," anyone?) Another of the fashionable terms that is bandied about in what seems to be an indiscriminate fashion is "automation." As an industry analyst, I take briefings from vendors large and small (and these briefings often serve to provide information for my writing). An executive from a large, well-known vendor recently used the word automation as if he and his company had just created the term and as if his company's products delivered all of the benefits of automation. Unfortunately, he could not explain how his products were automated and what benefits they actually delivered.

The word automation as it pertains to IT has been around for many years. In fact, 2012 marks the 60th year since the term was reinvented in a book entitled simply "Automation" by John Diebold, an early IT management guru whom I am happy to say that I knew personally (although many years after he had written "Automation"). As John talked about in a later book, "Making the Future Work":

  • "First, you mechanize what you did yesterday.
  • Second, you find that the task changes; the technology revises what you do; not just how you do it.
  • Third, you find that as a result of that transformation, the greatest change of all occurs in society."

    David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance." View Full Bio
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