Henry Newman's Storage Blog Archives for April 2013

Who Is Making Money?

As we start to see financial results from 2013, it looks like very few—if any—storage vendors are making money. So what is going on in the storage industry?

I am thinking that though people are buying lots of storage, the number of storage vendors has grown. And with competition, you always see prices dropping.

Customers do not know how to differentiate between vendors, and vendors are not doing a good job—from what I can tell—selling the importance of their differentiation. Sadly, the lowest common denominator often wins.

I am also seeing something else happen. Even when a storage company does a good job differentiating themselves and explaining that some features increase costs but reduce the management overhead, customers buy products that are more difficult to implement. The reason, of course, is self-preservation of jobs for the people who make the decisions. Buying a simplified product would put them out of a job. This will have a long-term impact on the organization, making it less competitive, but as of now this seems to be happening in the industry.

At least for now, there is a race to the bottom: how cheap can you make it and how low can you go for margins? This is not good for those who have innovated and not good for the organizations that allowed personal gain to get in the way of corporate good.

In the long run, I believe it will be the best valued storage—not the cheapest—that will win. The market will soon figure this out, but a number of good things could be harmed in the meantime.

Labels: vendors, Storage, quarterly financials

posted by: Henry Newman

Great Storage Conference Worth Attending

Attention storage admins: The 29th IEEE Mass Storage Conference agenda now available. This is a great conference to attend if you are dealing with large archives (both preservation and bulk). As yours truly is doing a tutorial Monday you might think I'm overstepping the bounds of good taste by promoting this conference. However, you would be incorrect as speakers are not paid. And in fact speakers have to register for the conference and pay the same fees as everyone else.

People give talks at this conference because they want to share information with others in the various communities that need large storage. Historically this conference's target audience was HPC and it was dominated with US Government Labs, NASA, and other similar agencies. This has changed over the last week few years. The conference has attendees from Internet companies such as Yahoo and others, the entertainment industry, and base technology companies such as Seagate (Dave Anderson is a great speaker; he always provides interesting details on future disk technology) and IBM (Dr. Robert Fontana provides a detailed overview of future densities for storage technologies last year that made me rethink a lot of things).

As a past attendee and speaker I always get a lot out of this conference -- actually more than most of the other conferences I attend. The information is forward-looking and helps you plan for the future and lots of areas. As the large archive community grows, more communities will be attending this conference and developing new techniques to address large storage problems. If you are dealing with storage problems over 1 PB, this is the place to be. Definitely worth the expense.

Labels: data storage, Storage

posted by: Henry Newman