SNW Leftovers

Unlike the World Series, some issues couldn't be solved before the show closed

October 29, 2004

4 Min Read
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ORLANDO, Fla. Storage’s fall classic is over, but it’s not too late to look at a few issues that flew under the radar at Storage Networking World.

ILM defined? Some companies are turning the term into profits (see Tucci Touts ILM and Services Save StorageTek). Yet the concept remains a moving target. Hence, an ILM spiel usually starts with: “You’ve heard a lot about ILM, but what ILM means is…” and what follows varies by vendor.

So the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) Data Management Forum decided to remove the confusion by defining ILM this year at SNW. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Information Lifecycle Management is comprised of the policies, processes, practices and tools used to align the business value of information with the most appropriate and cost effective IT infrastructure from the time information is conceived through its final disposition. Information is aligned with business requirements through management policies and service levels associated with applications, metadata, and data.

Now, that really helps!

What’s after 4-gig? For years, 10-Gbit/s was considered the heir to 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel technology. “Then 4-gig happened,” Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) director of product marketing Derek Granath says. “It fit better because it was backward compatible and was a significantly lower price than 10-gig.”For those same reasons, Granath suspects 8-gig will jump in ahead of 10-gig as the next speed after 4-gig. Others agree. “There’s still a difference of opinion on that topic,” says Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) marketing VP Mike Smith. “We’re seeing a lot of momentum now for 8 to follow. It’s backward compatible. It’s pretty painful to have to rip out your infrastructure. I haven’t talked to anybody who would want to do it.”

Another storage executive of a company ramping 4-gig products thinks price is the key driver of 4-gig and would have to drive 8-gig as well. There will be no price premium for 4-gig gear over 2-gig equipment. “There’s limited demand for 4-gig,” the exec, who asked not to be named, admits. “You wouldn’t get anybody to buy it as a price premium. It would be the same for 8-gig.”

The issue doesn’t have to be settled for awhile. With 4-gig products still probably nine months away from volume shipment, its successor probably won’t appear before 2008 (see Orlando Braces for Industry Storm).

Four’s a subsystem crowd. Coming off a rough financial quarter, subsystem vendors Dot Hill Systems Corp. (Nasdaq: HILL) and Engenio Information Technologies Inc. find competition increasing for OEM business. Until recently, Dot Hill had the low-end OEM market to itself and Engenio had little competition in the midrange. But Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT) won a deal to supply IBM entry-level systems earlier this year, and Xyratex Ltd. (Nasdaq: XRTX) is looking to expand its OEM business after going public in June. Xyratex gets nearly half of its revenue from selling systems to Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), but is seeking deals with other Tier 1 and Tier 2 vendors (see Xyratex Has No IPO Regrets).

Where does Xyratex fit in the market? “I’d say we’re in the middle of the midrange now, and our strategy is to push in both directions in a couple of years,” says Xyratex VP of business strategy Said Rahmani Khezri.What’s in a name? When LSI Logic Storage changed its name to Engenio in May, it was in a quiet period before a planned IPO and didn’t want to talk about what the name means (see LSI Spells Engenio). Now that its IPO is pushed back indefinitely, Engenio can reveal what’s been hidden so long.

“Some people interpret it as ‘Engine for IO,’ ” Engenio senior director of corporate marketing Mitch Seigle says. “We also intended to stress ingenuity. But the logo is a big part of the reason for the name, too.”

In Engenio’s logo, the "o" is a pearl inside of a shell. “That means we’re delivering hidden value,” Seigle says.

Oh. We thought it might be a reference to cliff diving.

Curses no more. Want to know what’s been keeping people in the storage business up at night? Baseball.Because the Boston area is one of the hot spots for storage companies, SNW was filled with Red Sox fans reveling in their team’s improbable run to the World Series championship. Meanwhile, a Cardinals fan was rarer than a 1-port switch. Baseball dominated all non-technology talk among bleary-eyed storage pros who had to stay up well past their bedtimes to catch the end of games. Hotel bars at SNW were filled with screaming fans for Games 3 and 4, and people scheduled to fly home Wednesday night scrambled to change flights so they wouldn’t be in the air during Game 4.

It’s no wonder nobody got around to adequately defining ILM.

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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