The worldwide storage market is going through unprecedented change as it is making baby steps out of one of the longest recessions in history. We are not exactly out of the woods yet, given the Eurozone crisis, slowing growth in China and the little sputters in the US economy.
Back in early 2012, Fujitsu has shown good signs of taking market share in the enterprise storage but what happened to that? In the last 2 quarters, the server boys in the likes of HP, IBM and Dell storage market share have either shrunk (in the case of HP and Dell) or tanked (as in IBM). I would have expected Fujitsu to continue its impressive run and continue to capture more of the enterprise market, and yet it didn’t. Why?
I was given an Eternus storage technology update by the Fujitsu Malaysia pre-sales team more than a year ago. It has made some significant gains in technology such as Advanced Copy, Remote Copy, Thin Provisioning, and Eco-Mode, but I was unimpressed. The technology features were more like a follower, since every other storage vendor in town already has those features.
And there were noticeable gaps too, especially the lack of an integrated NAS solution, which Fujitsu could have proudly called “unified storage”. Several other vendors have already integrated object-based storage into their unified platforms, Fujitsu’s cloud storage offering is yet to be seen.
The storage market, as I have seen in Malaysia, is getting very crowded now. Start-ups such Nimble Storage, Nimbus Data, Nutanix, Violin Memory and a few others have already made it to our shores months ago, focusing on the scaling performance or scaling capacity selling (as in scale-out architectures) or leveraging on the server or desktop virtualization play with all-flash or hybrid strategy.
With the soft storage market and the server boys of IBM, Dell and HP (especially HP and Dell) faltering, Fujitsu can be in a great position to take advantage of the market, if they want to.
Their partnership with Sun (I mean Oracle) on the SPARC server is going great, with recent SPARC T5 and M5 launch. They should leverage on that partnership at a local level, in both Malaysia and Singapore, by doing testing and validation of Sun’s (damn it, I mean Oracle!) ZFS storage appliance. That will solve their NAS deficiency immediately.
Secondly, they should also leverage their partnership with Violin Memory to bolster their flash offering. I hardly hear of Fujitsu Malaysia speaking much about this partnership. After all, Violin Memory claims to be the fastest all-flash in the world! And there is a Fusion IO relationship in there somewhere!
Thirdly, their Primergy servers are one of the better enterprise servers in the local Malaysian market. The Eternus enterprise storage should be part of the attached sales as well, as HP and Dell in Malaysia have been doing for years.
So, in my analysis, Fujitsu is well positioned to gain greater local market awareness for their Eternus enterprise storage offering. After all, Fujitsu claims to have 40 years of building enterprise storage and 1,000 storage engineers in its arsenal. See link here and screenshot below:
Whatever Fujitsu Malaysia needs to do, it has to be done within the next 2 quarters. The startups I mentioned are already building their market, and make their presence felt locally. As they mature and with Dell and HP distracted, Fujitsu Malaysia got to be ready take advantage of this lull period.
I have the utmost respect for Fujitsu Malaysia, because the Japanese makes damn reliable products. But they just got to make themselves more well known, solution-wise, technology-wise, prowess-wise. For their sake.
I was browsing for some information on Violin and came across your wonderful site having lot of information. unfortunately i being an application guy will not be appreciate fully.
Can you please help me carify on some basic fundamentals on using SAP HANA Vs Violin Flash storage for our SAP BW system. As you know SAP HANA cost is huge ( Heard from my boss ) . Is it good to go with HANA or Violin keeping long term benifits?
Violin claims around 3 times improvement . looks at the cost we are wondering that it solves our immediate purpose. But not sure on how soon we will be in trouble again. Our current BW system is slow in terms of report generation & loading also.
Appreciate your help in giving some feedback on the violin Vs HANA .
Thanks & Regards,
Violin Memory (VM) and SAP HANA operate at 2 different levels. VM is an infrastructure and concentrates on very high IOPS and/or throughput to general applications including SAP HANA.
SAP HANA is an in-memory database, and therefore is already at the application level. It powers business applications such as your BW applications.
Having set that understanding, SAP HANA as an application obviously relies on a high performance storage system such as VM. But the path of the request data probably would look like this:
Client request -> Network -> Application Server(eg. BW) -> Database (eg.MSSQL, SAP HANA) -> Network (internal, SAN or NAS) -> Storage (eg. VM)
The response to the client will be in reverse:
Storage -> Network -> Database -> Application Server -> Client request
I have omitted many details in between but you get the picture.
As the data path moves along all these components above, each “stop” adds to the time taken (called latency) and this is the response time. If your clients or your application is sluggish and slow, the combinations of all these components affect the time taken to complete the request. Therefore, even if you invest in SAP HANA but retains a very slow storage system, the entire performance is affected.
I don’t know in details your environment, and I made a lot of general assumptions. Perhaps it would be best to look at the entire application and infrastructure architecture as a whole and look at the performance of how each one affect the delivery of the data. Jumping into an expensive investment like SAP HANA or VM might be premature. I would probably suggest you to get someone to troubleshoot the entire data path before making the investment decision.
BTW, if you don’t mind me asking, which country and city you are from? I may have some contacts to help if the city/country is right 🙂
Hope that helps.