I'll say it again: It's all about focus.
When selecting a data center technology, one of the variables to consider is if the winning supplier will continue to improve its products. While there are no guarantees, I advise my clients to look at the focus a supplier has on a particular segment of the storage market; the greater the focus, the more likely the supplier will be to continue to advance.
Let's look at three successful examples: Data Domain, CommVault, and Network Appliance.
Data Domain is the model of an emerging technology company with strong focus and execution. When Data Domain entered the market, virtual tape libraries (VTLs) were the buzz, and the data de-duplication concept seemed -- well, unbelievable. Data Domain's employees woke up every morning ready to convince customers of two things: First, they did NOT need a VTL; and second, Data Domain had a backup device that was going to store all of their data without really storing it.
In tackling this job, Data Domain not only changed the market, it created a new one. Through it all, Data Domain has been focused on the disk-to-disk backup market, and more specifically using data de-duplication to enable it.