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Who Will Buy?

In storage networking as in life, lessons can come from the most unexpected places.

When I upgraded my cellphone a few months back, the kid at Circuit City was pushing me toward the Palm Treo. (I suggested something in a more earthbound price range, without the ringtones, the designer skins for the phone -- these were bells that did not make me whistle.) Camera phones were also on offer. While still inexplicable to me, just try buying a new phone that doesn't have one.

Flash forward to yesterday, when the NPD Group reported that cellphone system operators are extremely disappointed with how customers are using these cam phones. Seems people are just taking pictures and then using their phones as glorified photo albums instead of forwarding the goods to friends, families, ex-bosses, and the like. Apparently, the average consumer doesn't perceive an image in the same way as a text message, and that means less revenue per subscriber.

My point: Most cellular subscribers (like your average IT manager) are much more interested in basic functionality. The fact that any customer, whether the product is a cellular phone or networked storage, just wants data to be available when they need it shouldn't come as a big surprise. I don't want to build my multimedia empire from an alphanumeric touchpad that my nubby little fingers can scarcely operate anyway. I'm sure as hell not going to pay a premium for the alleged privilege.

Four-gig Fibre Channel vendors, are you listening? The same goes for you purveyors of information lifecycle management (ILM) suites and other storage resource management (SRM) schemes. And let's toss in the mostly very pricey CDP packages while we're at it.

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