Continuing my post-week coverage of the [Data Center 2010 conference], Thursday morning had some interesting sessions for those that did not leave town last night.
- Interactive Session Results
In addition to the [Profile of Data Center 2010] that identifies the demographics of this year's registrants, the morning started with highlights of the interactive polls during the week.
- External or Heterogeneous Storage Virtualization
The analyst presented his views on the overall External/Heterogeneous Storage Virtualization marketplace. He started with the key selling points.
- Avoid vendor lock-in. Unlike the IBM SAN Volume Controller, many of the other storage virtualization products result in vendor lock-in.
- Leverage existing back-end capacity. Limited to what back-end storage devices are supported.
- Simplify and unify management of storage. Yes, mostly.
- Lower storage costs. Unlike the IBM SAN Volume Controller, many using other storage virtualization discover an increase in total storage costs.
- Migration tools. Yes, as advertised.
- Consolidation/Transition. Yes, over time.
- Better functionality. Potentially.
Shortly after several vendors started selling external/heterogeneous storage virtualization solutions, either as software or pre-installed appliances, major storage vendors that were caught with their pants down immediately started calling everything internally as also "storage virtualization" to buy some time and increase confusion.
While the analyst agreed that storage virtualization simplifies the view of storage from the host server side, it can complicate the management of storage on the storage end. This often comes up at the Tucson Briefing Center. I explain this as the difference between manual and automatic transmission cars. My father was a car mechanic, and since he is the sole driver and sole mechanic, he prefers manual transmission cars, easier to work on. However, rental car companies, such as Hertz or Avis, prefer automatic transmission cars. This might require more skills on behalf of their mechanics, but greatly simplifies the experience for those driving.
The analyst offered his views on specific use cases:
- Data Migration. The analyst feels that external virtualization serves as one of the best tools for data migration. But what about tech refresh of the storage virtualization devices themselves? Unlike IBM SAN Volume Controller, which allows non-disruptive upgrades of the nodes themselves, some of the other solutions might make such upgrades difficult.
- Consolidation/Transition. External virtualization can also be helpful, depending on how aggressive the schedule for consolidation/transition is performed.
- Improved Functionality/Usability. IBM SAN Volume Controller is a good example, an unexpected benefit. Features like thin provisioning, automated storage tiering, and so on, can be added to existing storage equipment.
The analyst mentioned that there were different types of solutions. The first category were those that support both internal storage and external storage virtualization, like the HDS USP-V or IBM Storwize V7000. He indicated that roughly 40 percent of HDS USP-V are licensed for virtualization. The second category were those that support external virtualization only, such as IBM SAN Volume Controller, HP Lefthand and SVSP, and so on. The third category were software-only Virtual Guest images that could provide storage virtualization capabilities.
The analyst mentioned EMC's failed product Invista, which sold less than 500 units over the past five years. The low penetration for external virtualization, estimated between 2-5 percent, could be explained from the bad taste that left in everyone considering their options. However, the analyst predicts that by 2015, external virtualization will reach double digit marketshare.
Having a feel for the demographics of the registrants, and specific interactive polling in each meeting, provides a great view on who is interested in what topic, and some insight into their fears and motivations.