Hyperbole on Tape

Sore chests and rattling sabers over at IBM

June 5, 2007

2 Min Read
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5:40 PM -- It seems that June is hyperbole month, at least over in Armonk. On a teleconference earlier today, IBM execs spouted a slew of superlatives about their storage operation, touting what they described as "a watershed moment in the history of the storage industry."

What could possibly justify all this chest-beating? Some state-of-the-art data de-duplication technology? Maybe a leading edge encryption offering? Sadly not -- IBM, apparently, has overtaken its rivals in sales of disk and tape storage. (See IBM Passes Storage Vendors.)

Speaking on the teleconference, Andy Monshaw, general manager of IBM system storage, could hardly contain his excitement. "This is an announcement that we have been working for, and waiting for, for over 10 years," he gushed, adding that the firm has clawed back marketshare from the likes of EMC and HP.

My vain hopes that IBM would give us an extended tour of its roadmap were quickly shattered, as execs instead poured forth on the wondrous world of IBM storage. Specifically, this song and dance centered on a report from IDC, which placed the vendor ahead of HP and EMC for disk and tape shipments in 2006.

Tape, not exactly the sexiest technology even by the standards of storage, has become a sort of barometer by which vendors measure their storage performance. And it's been a blot on the recent financials of rival HP, although Monshaw painted a very different picture of IBM's tape business today. (See HP's Storage Slowdown.) "Tape is seeing a tremendous resurgence," he said, adding that the technology was one of IBM's fastest growing hardware brands during 2006.This is all well and good, but does this really constitute news? With data volumes exploding, I am sure that CIOs and IT managers want to see more technology roadmaps and less saber-rattling from their key vendors -- you know, real watersheds.

Happily, the month is young.

James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • IDC

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