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Repetition, The Refuge of Flawed Ideas

I just finished reading a column by a guy who works for a second-tier IT "research and analysis" firm who claimed that a growing number of small firms were adopting "SANs," by which I assume he was referring to Fibre Channel fabrics. To find out, I would have to register with the Website of the fellow's publisher, which I have no intention of doing, mainly because the site publishes this fellow's nonsense. Unfortunately, someone emailed me the entire text of the article, probably just to irritate me.

I can think of no more patently absurd propaganda flying around the storage market today than the idea of storage area networks (SANs) for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs have no requirements whatsoever that necessitate the acquisition and deployment of an FC fabric. The notion that SAN adoption is climbing among SMEs flies in the face of reason, and no matter how many times someone in the analyst community is paid by a vendor to say it, it is still untrue.

In this case, the analyst based his case on an interpretation of statistics drawn from 220 companies, 10 percent of which were firms with over 500 employees, 34 percent in the 100- to 499-employee range, and 56 percent in the sub-100 employee rank. Apparently, the guy associates "big" and "small" with numbers of employees; no mention is made of earnings.

He seemed sufficiently energized by his less-than-scientific-poll to assert that SANs are on the upswing: 35 percent of respondents said they have deployed "networked storage." But no definition is offered regarding what constitutes networked storage--does that amorphous category include file servers with direct attached arrays? What about my laptop hard-disk, which is accessible to my desktop when I turn on my wireless LAN connection? Another 13 percent are "actively evaluating" networked storage solutions and another 26 percent are just "considering" it. And 2 percent, bless them, are saying that, like me, they aren't really sure what networked storage is exactly.

In real numbers, that means that 77 companies had some sort of storage that they viewed as "networked," possibly nothing more than an NFS volume accessed across a LAN. Another 86 firms were "thinking" about networked storage (don't we all), four companies didn't know what networked storage was (most of us don't), and 53 summarily rejected the entire notion of networked storage outright as inappropriate to their requirements.

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