This Year in Storage

Happy 2016! Is that still allowed in February? Or, if you are like me, are you stunned that just over 8% of the year went by already! Anyhow, while ‘predictions’ is an over-used word around this time of year, there’s another ‘P’ word that has had more than its fair share of deployment in IT circles generally – and storage specifically – over the decades: the word is ‘paradigm’. And especially shifts thereof! But sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason.. .Scott Sinclair and I recently sat down to chat about both P words with regard to the storage industry over the coming year and beyond. In our age of being attention-challenged, it is worth noting that the resulting video is around 7 minutes. But (and hopefully it is not immodest) we think it turned out as a useful overview! To read the complete article, CLICK...

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Arrays First Steps In A New Seagate?
Dec09

Arrays First Steps In A New Seagate?

In its first big move since shelling out almost $700 million in August to acquire the storage system business of Dot Hill Systems, [which is pocket change compared to rival Western Digital’s $19-billion October bid for flash chip vendor SanDisk] Seagate Technology has announced a new and improved AssuredSAN (hardware) RealStor (software) family of hybrid and all-flash storage arrays. There are a number of enhancements, but the one that stands out is the 40% reduction in cost per IOPS and cost per VM. “If you’re an OEM… i.e. HP… Teradata… Quantum… you need to bring into your portfolio a solid, intelligent, fast array from a vendor you can rely on,” said Jim Jonez, Marketing Director, who came to Seagate in October when the Dot Hill acquisition closed. These arrays have features that are absolutely unique, that you need as a storage provider to provide to your customers, he told IT Trends & Analysis. “The addition of Dot Hill’s arrays to Seagate’s portfolio is a significant ‘win’ for OEMs and their customers,” said Mark Peters, practice director and senior analyst of Enterprise Strategy Group, in a prepared statement. “Not only are OEM sales efforts now bolstered by a more comprehensive selection of field-proven storage solutions, but also these new RealStor enhancements address critical enterprise needs while maintaining the products’ hallmark competitive pricing. The result is that OEMs – regardless of customer needs or budget – will be able to offer very compelling solutions through their relationship with Seagate.” Blogging about the Dot Hill acquisition in August, ESG analyst Scott Sinclair noted that the deal made sense on a number of levels. ‘With Dot Hill’s comprehensive product set of storage systems and software, Seagate should be better equipped to capture a larger piece of that cloud infrastructure pie [a storage infrastructure market that could easily surpass $10 billion currently]. The bottom line is that as the battle for cloud dominance heats up, so does the battle to supply the infrastructure to the cloud. And Seagate is strengthening its position.’ Seagate appears to have a lot of strengthening to do. For its most recent quarter (first quarter of fiscal year 2016 ended October 2, 2015) the company reported lower-than-expected revenues (approximately $2.9 billion) and gross margin (23.6%), with net income of $34 million. “While lower than planned nearline enterprise demand temporarily impacted our financial results, we are pleased with the momentum we have across our products, which will be further supported by the newly acquired assets of Dot Hill and our ability to now completely integrate the Samsung hard drive business,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate’s chairman and CEO. Selling to the cloud/hyperscale...

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Cisco re IT’s Future: “Infrastructure as Code.”
Nov25

Cisco re IT’s Future: “Infrastructure as Code.”

“What surviving companies do is get market transitions right. Our competitors from 20 years ago? None of them exist. We …were lucky to emerge from every transition stronger than ever.” John Chambers, Cisco Chambers may have moved upstairs to chairman, but his company has identified yet another IT shift, to composable infrastructure, said Cisco’s Todd Brannon, Director of Product Marketing, Unified Computing. Conceptually, we see this as another transition, he stated. “We like to say… we’re wrapping code around the infrastructure rather than sheet metal.” The transition to CI – not to be confused with the other CI, converged infrastructure – started around 18 months ago, he said, to a much more distributed environment, i.e. microservers and containers. “What we recognized is customers are looking for much more granular control of their infrastructures.” According to the company, its Composable Infrastructure software-defined infrastructure (SDI) solution lets you treat infrastructure as code, disaggregating compute resources so they can be programmed and automatically managed more efficiently. There are currently two offerings: UCS M-Series Modular Servers; and, UCS C3260 Rack Server. “IT is shifting to a new model.” Everything we’re doing is transparent., it’s all being done in a software-defined way at the element level, said Brannon. “Basically, infrastructure as code.” IDC’s Jed Scaramella, Research Director, Enterprise Servers and Datacenters, said composable infrastructure applies a software design element to hardware infrastructure. It disaggregates hardware components, server, storage, and networking I/O, effectively breaking down the boundaries of the server systems. ‘IT needs distributed computing environments that scale quickly and seamlessly yet are still economical’, he noted in a recent report on composable infrastructure, on behalf of Cisco. ‘There’s a demand for systems that can speed up time to market and increase business agility and efficiency. For the IT organization, the goal is to become a service provider to the business.’ The primary benefit is the ability to compose and decompose single sets or blocks of compute, storage, and networking components for a particular application, he said. It provides a common platform that is flexible for different applications, making it possible to configure components to optimize application performance — whether compute intensive, data intensive, or balanced. ‘The infrastructure can achieve the best ratio of compute to I/O to storage — regardless of physical server configuration.’ Back in June HP released its Composable Infrastructure API, to support a new class of infrastructure that will be “composable”, built to fit the specific needs of an application or workload that will run on it. HP stated that organizations must transition from applications that fundamentally “run” the business, to applications that are designed to “be” the business, and that...

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The EMC Elephant Stomps Dell World
Oct21

The EMC Elephant Stomps Dell World

AUSTIN, TEXAS: While EMC will enable Dell to join IT’s 800-pound-gorilla club, pretty much everybody at Dell World 2015 — especially a really pumped Michael Dell and his executive team — is talking about the proposed acquisition, and speculating on what it means for the companies involved, their customers and prospects, and their competitors. So now the gorilla can keep company with the elephant-in-the-room metaphor. The stomping began on October 12 when Michael Dell, MSD Partners and Silver Lake announced the proposed acquisition of EMC in a deal valued at $67 billion, dwarfing all other previous IT mergers and acquisitions. Michael said the transaction will unite Dell’s ‘strength with small business and mid-market customers with EMC’s strength with large enterprises to fuel profitable growth and generate significant cash flows.’ “Our new company will be exceptionally well-positioned for growth in the most strategic areas of next generation IT including digital transformation, software-defined data center, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud, mobile and security,” he said in a prepared statement. His EMC counterpart, Joe Tucci, was equally optimistic about the new company’s prospects, and why the acquisition was necessary: “… the waves of change we now see in our industry are unprecedented and, to navigate this change, we must create a new company for a new era.” The combination of EMC and Dell will create an $80-billion company, said Michael at a press event on Tuesday. For its most recent quarter EMC reported consolidated revenue of $6.07 billion, with VMware contributing $1.59B, and Pivotal a meager $64 million. That would put Dell’s share at $56 billion, which is in keeping with the best guesstimates for the private company. “Go big or go home, baby,” said Michael, talking about how EMC addresses the issue of a privately held company making aggressive acquisitions. However, from a financial perspective, the acquisition is expected to add more than $40B — as part of the $50B-plus EMC will cost — to the $12B still outstanding from the $25B it cost to take Dell private. “Dell and EMC are a dream combination,” he said. “We complement each other beautifully.” Combined, the two companies lead in 22 Gartner Magic Quadrants, said Michael. As an added bonus, EMC will now be private and out from under the 90-day financial proctology exam that is the norm for public companies. “As I like to say, EMC, $67 billion. Being master of your own destiny, priceless!” In an open letter, Michael shared his thoughts and intentions on VMware, basically committing to ‘continue to offer choice and multiple partner offerings as we always have and always will.’ VMware will remain an independent public company, and there are...

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Michael Dell vs. Meg Whitman: Skills and Compensation

It comes down to a combination of skills and compensation.  If you look at Dell and HP you suddenly see a stark contrast one company is building, has broken free from the crutch of quarterly reports, and is slated to be far more powerful than they are now in a few short months.  The other is crippled undergoing a massive separation and layoff of nearly 1/3rd of its employees (combination of latest 33K and 55K earlier layoff announcements) and the firm that Whitman and HP’s board were likely hoping would acquire one of the units, EMC, is being bought by Dell effectivity leaving HP packaged to sell (you can certainly see why-holy crap) but without a viable buyer (well there is Oracle but Mark Hurd would likely use HP as his personal hunting ground given how the executives bad mouthed him when he left). To read the complete article, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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