Scary Stories

Evil things lurk, but not just on Halloween

November 1, 2005

2 Min Read
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5:30 PM -- Like all industries, storage has its share of goblins, those ugly creatures that make life difficult with their evil intentions. Unfortunately, they don't only pop out on Halloween -- this is just the day when we pay most attention.

So we'll use this appropriate day to identify the peskiest of storage annoyances:

Interoperability: For all the talk about standards and compatibility among vendors, too many users still say a heterogeneous storage setup is too difficult to manage. That limits them from upgrading to new technology until their current vendor offers it, leading to the next goblin...

Vendor Lock-in: We all know by now that information lifecycle management (ILM) was originally conceived by large storage companies as a way to coax customers into buying only their gear. For all the talk about storage virtualization, we've seen little evidence that vendors actually want to make it easy to use their storage alongside their competitors. Subsystem and Fibre Channel switch vendors are the worst offenders, but not the only ones.

Overhype: Even the best storage technologies need time before they're ready for public consumption. How many times did the "Year of iSCSI" pass before iSCSI started making sense to customers? The time will come for 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel, storage virtualization, serial attached SCSI (SAS), and continuous data protection (CDP) too. But not until organizations figure out the best place for them. For now, they're little more than a good idea for most shops. Fear Factor : Do vendors have to use the threat of jail or strong fines to get customers to address compliance and security? Sure, there could be serious consequences for organizations that don't take those topics seriously but the solutions need to be well planned and budgeted for so that they're done right the first time. The flip side of the fear factor is the rushed-into-it-for-wrong-reasons factor. Either way, regrets abound.

Failure to Communicate: Buzzwords are often used to try and tell customers what they want or need. Instead, storage vendors should try to understand the industries they're selling to. A U.S. Air Force officer reminded storage vendors of that last week at SNW, but we've heard it before from IT folks in other market sectors. (See USAF Issues Storage Challenge and Healthcare Seeks Storage Rx).

Happy Halloween and here's to putting some of your goblins to rest, once and for all.

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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