Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Why There Won't Be a Big 3 in Storage

For almost the last decade there has been the constant prediction of consolidation of the storage industry, where the eventual scenario is a Big 3 of storage. Could Oracle's purchase of Sun be the domino that falls, triggering one of the largest consolidations of storage that we have seen thus far?

Picture this, IBM disappointed in not getting Sun and decides to buy NetApp. Cisco may then feel the need to respond, so it buys EMC. HP not wanting to feel left out goes after HDS or 3Par. Dell, also feeling the need to respond, buys Compellent -- and all of this happens within the next year!

That's a lot of consolidation in a short time and it will have ripple effects throughout the industry. At the surface we could get to that Big 3 scenario that everyone has predicted for years now, so we can finally draw the parallel to the automotive industry. Given the state of the auto industry I am not sure why we'd want to, but it is always held up as the example.

Reality is that this won't happen in IT in general and storage in particular. Let's face it, we can't even all decide on a standard protocol (Fibre, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS, or Infiniband) and it is unlikely that three companies will take over the industry.

Also consider that this is not a logistics-ladened industry. A smart guy with a workstation can design the next great quantum leap in storage, and he can do so quickly. The hardware part of the puzzle can be easily outsourced -- look at EqualLogic (pre Dell), Compellent, NetApp, 3PAR, etc. -- for the most part, they outsource the hardware end of the system. Even when companies like BlueArc or 3PAR put their intelligence in the silicon, they do not initially need to go out and build a fab plant, they can outsource that too.

  • 1