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All Out of Bubblegum

In the classic John Carpenter sci-fi film, They Live, the hero, played by wrestler Roddy Piper, comes across a pair of sunglasses that enable him to see the truth: There are space aliens among us, and they are using subliminal messaging and propaganda to turn earthlings into happy, idiotic consumers. Their ultimate goal is to bilk us of our natural and budgetary resources.

At a pivotal moment, Piper walks into a bank with a shotgun on his shoulder and announces to the mix of aliens and humans in attendance, "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick posterior]. And I'm all out of bubblegum."

This scene from the 1980s feature is very timely, as I had been struggling with how to respond to several announcements that had been made recently by Hewlett-Packard and EMC. I wanted to frame my response within some sort of reasonable context, when the movie made me realize the root of the difficulty I was having. Put simply, I'm all out of bubblegum.

Let's start with HP, which introduced a few weeks ago a server cluster to front-end a storage area network (SAN), and touting it as a network attached storage (NAS)/SAN gateway that will take market share away from the dominant NAS vendor: Network Appliance. Apparently, the HP guys are getting pretty desperate.

But a bundle of Compaq Proliant servers, SuSe Linux and Polyserve Cluster File System does not a NAS head make. At 9,000 operations per second, the thing can't possibly keep up with the latest storage frames in the market.

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