Technology and Traveling

December 4, 2008 – 11:57 am
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It’s been a busy year, not to mention a busy fall traveling around the U.S. and Europe talking with IT professionals. During that time, I have had the chance to meet and talk with thousands of people including IT professionals from companies of all size, vendors, value added resellers and channel professionals as well as media and others about technology issues, trends, current and emerging technologies and other topics from a server, storage, networking, software, facilities and management perspectives. In my travels and conversations, here’s a synopsis of what Im seeing and hearing.

Trends and Issues:
There is more data process (e.g. need for more servers), to manage including protect (e.g. need for more tools and people, or, do more work with same people), to move (e.g. more I/O and networking), and to store (e.g. more storage and associated tools) for longer periods of time, more threat risks (e.g. data protection, dlp, security, BC & DR) with degrading quality of service, RTO or RPOs on a shrinking budget. Anyone surprised yet?

Thus, doing more with less without compromising quality of service, availability, data protection or performance while boosting compliance and retention capabilities and enhancing business survivability while reducing power, cooling, floor space impacts. If these sound like more of the same, you are spot on, it is more of the same which is business sustainment and enabling growth. This is not to say the organizations don’t have other objectives and priorities as they do, however, it comes down to the fundamentals and what might be called the boring basics of keeping the business running while improving on efficiencies to remove cost that are front and center these days.

Technology and Solution Options:
What works, what’s beginning to work, what will work in the future including clouds, grids, clusters, converged networks, server and storage performance and capacity optimization are all being talked about. While technologies like de-dupe come up in many conversations, outside of the SOHO and lower end of the SMB market segments, most IT organizations will admit to still using if not relying on tape while the learn more about, and become convinced of, or wait for de-dupe performance issues to enable large scale deployment without introducing bottlenecks to backup and data protection windows to occur. Other topics commonly heard

Blades to mainframes, data footprint reduction, convergence, automation, data management, direct attached shared SAS storage for small VMware clusters or other specialized applications, , data loss prevention (DLP), SAN vs. NAS, iSCSI vs. FC, InfiniBand, FCoE and when it will be ready for prime time use (consensus is later in 2009 or 2010 if not later), affordable data protection, performance and capacity planning, infrastructure resource management, virtualization for consolation as well as for emulation, abstraction and management transparency of servers, storage, facilities and I/O, tiered resources (servers, storage, networks) and data protection. I know Im forgetting some however suffice to say, the usual buzzwords come up in conversations with the usual, what’s real and what’s future, what’s realistic and what scales and what is everyone else doing.

Buzzwords
2008 and looking forward, 2009 look to be both bumper years for buzzwords and proliferation of the Buzzword bingo themed games, that is, product announcements that stuff as many buzzword features that sooner or later someone yells Bingo, there’s match and a possible solution fit. Some of the buzzwords have been around for awhile, some have been on holiday resting up after their last tour of over use, abuse and hype fresh, reinvigorated, cleaned up and ready for a new round of activity while others are a bit tiered and ready to go off for some rest and relaxation (R&R) to get ready for their tour of duty.

Buzz words include among others 10 GbE, 100 GbE, 8 Gb Fibre Channel (8GFC), Agent-less, Application Aware, Archiving, Authentication, Automation, Backup Service Provider (BSP or MSP or Cloud Backup), Backup, BC/DR, Benchmarking, Blade systems, Blade servers, Blade storage, Bulk Storage, Capacity optimized, Capacity per watt, Capacity Planning, Carbon Footprint, CAS, CDP, CIFS, Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage, Clustered, CNA, Compliance, CO2, Compression, Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE), Full Disk Encryption (FDE), Converged Networks, Cross technology domain, D2D2D, D2D2T, Data management, Data migration, DCE, De-dupe debates, De-dupe ratios, De-dupe rates, De-duplication, Distributed RAID, DPM, Economics, Efficiency, eDiscovery, Encryption, Enterprise 2.0 Storage, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), Event Correlation, eWaste, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), File management, FLASH, Global name space, Green, Grid,HA, HSM, I/O Virtualization (IOV), ILM & Data movement, InfiniBand, Infrastructure Resource Management (IRM), IOPS per watt, IPM & MAID 2.0, iSCSI, Key management, Managed Service Provider (MSP), Metrics, MR-IOV, Multi-Protocol Storage, NAS, NFS, NPVID, Optimization, OSD, Partitions, PCI SIG IOV, Performance optimized, Performance, Piroma, pNFS, Policy based management, Policy based dedupe, Power Cooling Floor-space EHS (PCFE), RAID 6, Removable Hard Disk Drive (RHDD), Replication, RoHS, SaaS, SAN, SAS, SATA, Security, Self Healing, Snapshots, Spin down, SR-IOV, SRM, SSD, Tape, Thin Provision, Tier 0, Tiering, Unstructured data, VCB, VDI, Virtualization, Vmotion, VMware, VTL, WAAS, WADM, WADS, WAFS, WDM, Web 2.0 and many more.

Rest assured, time honored phrases that will be popular in 2009 will include Truly Unique, The Only.., Revolutionary, Industry First and, well, you know the list and so it goes.

Merger and Acquisition (M&A) activity
Startups are in the weeds, that is, some that have been around for a while are on borrowed time and increased pressure from their investors to do a deal or chop headcount to survive and exist until a deal can be made or worse. On the other hand, there is a new class of startups that in some cases are still incubating or what is known as in stealth mode to fill the void left by startups that have been acquired, will be acquired or that will simply fade away.

I would like to tell you about some of these startups, however as Im under NDA, that is, real NDAs (the ones that have teeth and real meaning, not the type that some PR folk want to put you on for a day or two until they leak the announcement of a new customer adoption story). Suffice to say, for several of these new startups, they have the funding they need now and running lean operations with good prospect of making it if they can survive while incubating during the tough current economic times and surface as things improve, not to mention getting their value proposition and go to market strategies correct and then executing on them.

Needless to say, the year is not quite over yet as I have a few more key note ( See StorageIO events page for others ) to do over the next couple of weeks including in New York City and San Antonio Texas before its time to sit back, put a few logs on an open fire and tip a few back with old St. Nick and improving on my Wii bowling game .

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
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