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Clouds And Claims Seem To Go Hand-in-Hand

I was thinking that this blog entry would discuss SSDs and the current state of disk array controller architecture - and that some vendors may be readily equipped to handle greater quantities of SSDs in their arrays today.  However, while in the midst of researching that topic I kept learning about vendor's cloud initiatives and kept coming across more and more cloud computing claims, and new additions to the IT vernacular with the word "cloud" included.  So I decided the SSD blog would sit on the shelf. For now.

What became evident to me is that vendors are beginning to use the term "cloud" loosely, from a marketing perspective, for just about everything.  This reminds me of 2007, when we saw a marketing trend emerge where products that were never positioned, or depicted, as being eco-friendly before, all of a sudden acquired massive green credentials; with some vendors splashing green paint schemes all over their slide decks and tradeshow exhibits.  Granted, a number of vendors, including EMC, HP, IBM and 3PAR actually did deliver more efficient products, assembly processes, and creative value propositions for energy credits and rebates.

However, concerning me is that now this same marketing trend is shifting over to the cloud, with vendors lacing cloud-related terminology across any and every product they have, or may have in the future. This is akin to smothering ketchup on a Chile Relleno; in other words, if the two don't go together why try to force it?  

I've seen something in storage that really stretches the "cloud" positioning pretty far out there.  Recently, Emulex claimed they have a cloud adapter.  A cloud adapter?  InfiniBand adapters, Fibre Channel adapters and iSCSI adapters are well understood and deployed; but a cloud adapter? Okay, but this is a concept that could be pushing marketing hyperbole a bit far - before any true business value is demonstrated and proven.   

Looking at this cloud adapter it seems to be an off-the-shelf FC adaptor with an off-the-shelf SAS adaptor running simultaneous target initiator traffic with a software layer that is doing the write splitting and passing the writes to the EMC Atmos layer.  I'm not trying to call Emulex's baby ugly, or anything like that, it just doesn't feel as though the vendor has invented some new technology here, but may have conjoined hardware and leveraged the EMC API set.  Elasticity?  Perhaps, but can this be stretched out to a deliverable and consumable product that demonstrates value in an archive, backup, replication, or data tiering scenario?  That's the challenge ahead for Emulex and its cloud adapter.  Also, it seems to me that Brocade, Cisco, or QLogic could produce something similar rather quickly.

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