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Users Keep Vendors Guessing

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Storage World Conference -- To get the most from storage deployments, users should be prepared to keep their vendors on their toes. This was the message from CIOs and IT managers speaking on a panel here this week.

"You want the ability to frighten them," explained Charles Curtis, senior storage engineer of Stewart Transaction Solutions, which runs more than 1,000 servers in its Houston, Texas, data center.

Curtis's firm typically works with one primary storage vendor, which he did not name, but the firm also maintains links with a "couple of minor players" to keep things interesting. "It's political," he said. "It's the ability to leverage an advantage over the storage vendor so that they are afraid you are going to leave them."

Other panelists echoed these sentiments. "We keep evaluating all types of technologies that are around in the marketplace, and we make sure that our vendors know that we're doing that," said Jeff Rochlin, manager of server strategy at Walt Disney Worldwide Services.

Disney, which uses a single vendor for about 90 percent of its infrastructure, is not afraid to rock the boat, according to Rochlin. "It lets them know that they cant get complacent. They can't fall behind in developing feature sets and getting those things that we need."

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