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Is All Storage Hype Bad?

Cloud Storage, Automated Tiering, FCoE and deduplication are the current over-discussed technologies in storage. At some point, a technology gets discussed so much that it becomes over-hyped. The reality is that most of the potential users of any of these technologies are not even close to adopting them. Especially right now, most IT professionals are just trying to keep their heads above water. Is all storage hype bad, though?

There is a trend where someone in the media or at a vendor will attack whatever is being discussed and point out to everyone that it is being over-hyped. That seems a little ironic, to provide a topic more attention by claiming it is getting too much attention. I don't think all hype is all bad. Most IT people I speak with are in IT because they like technology. Most storage managers really like storage, and when they have time they like reading about it. They understand this is not a job that you turn off at 5pm, and where what you learn today may be obsolete in five years. Constant learning is required.

I also find that all of the IT people I have ever spoken with know what it really means when they hear "must have." Like any other consumer, they have a built-in filter and know when to separate information from excitement. A while back in this blog I wrote about the need for evangelists. We need someone out there making the case for a given technology. Most readers are smart enough not to blindly follow what they read or hear from any particular person without doing background research and reading dissenting points of view. The same goes for hype. A product or technology reaches a hype stage as interest in its potential rises. The hype will die down eventually. In that hype, though, there is good information, and yes there are  also exaggerations. Differentiating the two requires the common sense that, for most IT professionals, comes with the job.

A great example of an over-hyped topic is Automated Tiering. Clearly I've written a lot about the technology, and so have many others. The reality is that in certain data centers, it makes sense to deploy right now, and in others it does not, at least not until the prices come down and the technology continues to mature. Should you ignore information about this or any over-hyped technology until you're ready to use it? Probably not. You want to keep tabs on that technology by learning and gathering information about it and then deploying it when the time is right. Based on our analytics, that is exactly what most readers do. When we write something on Cloud, Automated Tiering, SSD, FCoE and deduplication, traffic is much higher than when we write something about tape drives, backup, cable management, power management or storage management.

Especially in this era where almost everyone has a voice, almost any technology is going to get some hype built around it. It has been that way for as long as there have been new technologies. Those that make sense stick, those that don't die or mature under a new name. IT professionals know how to figure out the difference pretty quick.