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Storage Pipeline: First Person: Whose Storage Is It, Anyway?

Storage consumers must join forces to determine what we need and voice those needs.

From the storage manager's perspective, though, the blame belongs squarely on the vendors' doorsteps. Marketing hype has made it almost impossible to separate fact from fiction when it comes to storage gear.

To make matters worse, some storage vendors include a gag order of sorts in their product warranties, restricting their customers from making public statements about their products' performance. But if storage managers can't get real-world feedback from their peers, how can they make wise choices?

Standards? What Standards?

Another contributing factor to bad storage decisions: Vendors resist the creation of open standards because they fear commoditization and a corresponding plunge in profits. Each vendor aims to establish its proprietary storage technology as the de facto standard and, consequently, there's no guarantee any two vendors' products will interoperate.

In the absence of standards, vendors rely on API (application programming interface) "swaps" and "plugfests" to achieve a modicum of cooperation between disparate products. API swaps amount to little more than tactical treaties between players, delivering value to consumers only as long as the vendors reap commercial reward. Similarly, plugfests are vendors' attempts to develop work-arounds that enable their products to interoperate.

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