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No News Is Not Good News

The storage networking market's notorious for the kind of smoke and mirrors that frustrates even enrages -– IT buyers. And with Storage Networking World set for Phoenix next week, the hype meter's risen quantifiably.

Here are some recent examples:

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) summoned journalists to Cambridge, Mass., for "a rare opportunity to be illuminated and hear about the coming battle for the hearts and minds of storage customers and how they are being liberated by virtualization."

    With that intro, we should have been prepared. Turned out IBM was announcing the shipment of its 1,000th SAN Virtualization Engine, a product series unveiled a year ago (see IBM Previews Virtualization Engine). So why haul the media up north? IBM's press invitation holds the key: "In EMC's backyard on Wednesday, March 30, IBM will pull the curtain back to reveal that the 'emperor has no clothes.' " It all fits together, eh?

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) announced the reintroduction of its gFiler NAS with SAN gateway as a virtualization engine for various storage networks (see NetApp Makes Virtual Upgrade). Trouble is, nearly all key features are missing, including global namespace, which won't be released until 2006. Enjoy the wait.
  • StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd. announced the "shipment" of its product that supports SPAID (split path acceleration of independent data streams), a tack that divides management from I/O functions for virtualization applications (see StoreAge Boasts SPAID).

    OK, Spaid is a recent addition to marketspeak. But StoreAge has been boasting about this solution for over six months (see Troika Turns a Corner). It was a first, granted. It's also particular to VMware and is based on an appliance from Troika Networks Inc. (see Spaid Breaks Ground). A good story, and a twice-told tale.

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced early in March a new 32-port Storage Services Module (SSM) with which third parties can add functions to its MDS 9000 switches (see Cisco Seeks Intelligence). At least ten vendors pledge to write applications for the unit, including EMC and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS). The catch? No one's got anything yet. Of the biggest partners, EMC's support will come on a product that's not even out yet (its storage router), and Veritas won't specify how it will add an SSM.

Don't get me wrong. Each of these announcements contains some news, as opposed to ubiquitous announcements about such things as executive appearances and industry awards. But they're hardly the news of the moment. Instead, it either was news awhile back, or it will be news at some point in the future.

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