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Howard Marks
Howard Marks
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Server SANs And Healthy Paranoia

Server SANs such as VMware VSAN are designed for virtualization administrators, but are these new storage buyers paranoid enough to be entrusted with storage management?

Chuck Hollis, chief strategist for VMware's storage and application services business unit, has blogged that the now generally available VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) is designed to appeal to a new class of storage buyers. The people who are going to buy server SANs like VSAN aren’t established storage teams, but virtualization administrators. I wonder whether some of these virtualization admins are paranoid enough to be trusted with storage at scale.

Storage vendors from EMC to Tegile have sold storage to -- or in the case of SMBs, through -- experienced storage people. VSAN, and server SANs in general, aren’t designed to make steely-eyed storage guys turn away from dedicated storage for the promised land of software-defined storage. Instead, they’re designed to give the virtualization admin an alternative to dealing with the storage guys altogether.

I fully understand that many corporate storage teams can be inflexible, raising the cost of storage for use cases such as test, development and tier-two applications to unreasonable levels. After all, storage guys are the most conservative people in most datacenters and they do sometimes go too far.

It is, however, important to remember why the storage guy is so paranoid. While server and network admins all have their own "oh crud" moments, those rarely rise to the level where they're worried not only that they'll lose your job, but that they've screwed up badly enough to put the company out of business. 

Read the rest of this article on Network Computing.

Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage ... View Full Bio
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