It has been quite an interesting 2 decades.
In the beginning (starting in the early to mid-90s), SAN (Storage Area Network) was the dominant architecture. DAS (Direct Attached Storage) was on the wane as the channel-like throughput of Fibre Channel protocol coupled by the million-device addressing of FC obliterated parallel SCSI, which was only able to handle 16 devices and throughput up to 80 (later on 160 and 320) MB/sec.
NAS, defined by CIFS/SMB and NFS protocols – was happily chugging along the 100 Mbit/sec network, and occasionally getting sucked into the arguments about why SAN was better than NAS. I was already heavily dipped into NFS, because I was pretty much a SunOS/Solaris bigot back then.
When I joined NetApp in Malaysia in 2000, that NAS-SAN wars were going on, waiting for me. NetApp (or Network Appliance as it was known then) was trying to grow beyond its dot-com roots, into the enterprise space and guys like EMC and HDS were frequently trying to put NetApp down.
“It’s a toy…” was the most common jibe I got in regular engagements until EMC suddenly decided to attack Network Appliance directly with their EMC CLARiiON IP4700. EMC guys would fondly remember this as the “NetApp killer“. Continue reading
A couple nights ago, IBM launched a slew of new storage technology updates and a new cloud service called SmartCloud Enterprise, which incorporates some cloud technology from Nirvanix.
There were updates to IBM XIV, SVC, SONAS and also the DS8800 and the announcement reached us with a big bang. One of the notable updates that caught my eye was IBM Storwize V7000. When IBM first acquired Storwize in 2010, their solution was meant to be a compression engine in front of a NAS storage. And it pretty much of that for a while, until the new Storwize V7000.
The new Storwize V7000 is now a Unified Storage array, a multiprotocol box that IBM has quoted to compete with EMC VNX series. In the news, the V7000 has the block virtualization code from the IBM SVC, files support, a file distribution policy engine called ActiveCloud, and also included remote replication (Metro & Global Mirror), automatic storage tiering (EasyTier), clustering and storage virtualization as well. It also sports a new user interface inherited from IBM XIV’s Gen3 GUI that can manage both files and blocks.
The video below introduces the V7000:
While IBM is being courteous to NetApp (NetApp FAS series are IBM’s N-Series) by saying that their cannons are pointed towards EMC’s VNX, one cannot help to question the strong possibility of the V7000 hurting N-series sales as well. NetApp could see this relationship sailing choppy waters ahead.
To me, the current IBM storage technology lineup is staggered. It is everything to everyone, and there are things that are in need of sharpening. HDS has certainly made great leaps getting their act together and they have gained strong market share in the past 2 quarters. Dell and HP have not been so good, because their story just don’t gel well. It’s about time IBM get going with their own technology, and more importantly consolidate their storage technology lineup into a more focused strategy.
This is a great announcement for IBM and they are getting wizer!