Home > Uncategorized > Storage is dead. Long live Storage.

Storage is dead. Long live Storage.

Storage is a wonderful place to work. It seems like every few months someone or something new is coming out with the latest way to make it easy to store more data for less. There seems like about 100 new startups all begging for money and clients all the while trying to build new code bases to fix issues solved by the Big 5 years ago.

The 5 big five of course being IBM, EMC, NTAP, HP and HDS in some sort of order. These companies have spent Billions of dollars researching and engineering ways to store the simple bits of our 1s and 0s. Now in the new age we see these companies struggling for sales and even the market share leader of ~45% is being sold to a PC company because its not making the money it did a few years ago.

If you look at what is happening in the storage industry you can see why. Price per TB is rock bottom thanks to our buddies at Amazon and Google. IT Directors expect these cloud prices of pennies on the TBs in order to keep up with the demand on budgets. Just think 30 years ago gas cost $1.09 and a GB of data cost you $105,000. Now gas is around $2.00 and a GB of data? Well let’s just say it is around $0.03. What other commodity has fallen so quickly as data storage?

Another reason is efficiency. Storage has gotten better at making better use of the disks and better space savings all together. You can see it in the technologies like XIV and VSAN where the disks are dumb and the RAID is software. Also through in Dedupe, compression, clones, etc. and now the system that you bought for 100TBs a couple years ago is compared to a system with the same hardware (drive sizes anyway) that can push 300-500TBs of capacity. So that $100,000 storage array that was pushing 100TB is now the same cost for 500TBs.

And the last reason I see causing companies to squirm is Software Defined Infrastructure. Companies buy what hardware they want and then lay down their preferred software on top to manage and protect their data. And since its a heck of a lot easier to start a software company where you don’t have to worry about all of those pesky firmware versions and interop-ability matrix things, they are sprouting up like dandelions.

Now put it all together, lower cost /TB, better efficiency, and more software sales reps will lead to lower sales and lower potential. There is only one way out. Those who can put all of this together.

I have heard over and over that everyone wants to move out of hardware and move to cloud based or hybrid cloud. I see the value in cloud and I believe it has a place in the data center but for the most part I see it as a low cost storage platform where data is hosted for non mission critical applications. You want to run you email or CRM system there? sure go for it. You want to run distribution system or your surgical system out there when Netflix and Chill is happening? Probably not.

So to the Big 5 as a 2016 word of advice, embrace your hardware. It makes you different. It gives you a chance to walk into customers and give them a choice. Don’t fall for the flashy object of cloud (honestly the margins can’t be that good). Spend time developing integration into applications so things can work better together. Spend time reaching out to other companies and seeing how you can integrate their technologies into your own with out having to acquire them.

In the long run, people are going to make the best choice for their company and one shoe doesn’t fit all. The more you can offer and the better the offerings are, the better the customer will feel about your company. And who knows they might take a look at something else you sell down the road.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jeff
    January 12, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Great blog post, thanks.

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