The Skinny on Thin Provisioning

What's driving this technology? Vendor hype or user demand?

May 18, 2007

1 Min Read
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10:00 AM -- It's time to separate the hype surrounding thin provisioning from the reality.

Despite a recent flurry of activity from vendors, I learned in a spate of interviews yesterday that the technology is yet to show up on the radar of many users. (See Hitachi Bulks Up, EqualLogic to Add Thin Provisioning, and Thin Is Definitely In.)

I spoke to around a dozen IT managers and was greeted with blank stares upon mentioning the words "thin provisioning." "Never heard of it," was the response from more than one person, and only a couple of IT managers, both of whom were deploying the technology, were able to discuss it. (See Sunlight Service Group.)

Admittedly, vendors are targeting their thin provisioning wares at high-end enterprises, although the lack of recognition suggests that the average IT manager is not yet ready to go "thin."

At least one user told me that thin provisioning, which aims to ensure that physical disk capacity is only used as it is needed, would be overkill for his organization. "Disk capacity isn't really a big issue for us right now -- we take three-year leases on our equipment [with IBM] and we usually have enough," said Eric Corbman, MIS director of Carlstadt, N.J.-based apparel firm Maggy London.Maybe we are just at the start of the thin provisioning uptake curve. Then again, we may be looking at a case of vendor over-promotion. Until the real ranks of thin provisioners own up, the line between the two will be blurry indeed.

James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • EqualLogic Inc.

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • 3PAR Inc.

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