Recessions are often the mother of innovation. Times are tight and it is in these circumstances that technology upstarts have an opportunity to make some hay. Look no further than NetApp’s growth post-2001.
My colleague Dave Simpson recently listed his top 5 “hot” technologies from the floor of the Storage Networking World conference, giving the nod to Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and server virtualization as the top-two tech topics. Both are consolidation plays with FCoE solving network and cabling complexity and virtual machines reducing server hardware requirements. However, I find his third pick – storage efficiency technologies – to be the most intriguing segment of the storage market.
Also referred to overall as storage optimization technologies, data de-duplication, compression and thin provisioning are moving up the stack from secondary storage applications to primary systems.
It is in this area that new companies like Ocarina Networks and Storwize may now get a seat at the table as customers look for ways to squeeze more out of their existing hardware investments, especially given the near term purchasing plans of IT buyers.
The latest wave of research from TheInfoPro (TIP) shows that technology refresh purchases during the middle of 2008 are offsetting typical year-end purchases and will lead to a significant drop in storage spending for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Ocarina’s products identify patterns and use a blend compression and de-duplication to apply file-specific algorithms to optimize data and how it is stored. Storwize offers a high-performance compression appliance that drops into existing networks to shrink primary storage requirements. NetApp is also offering de-dupe for primary storage as a free option in its Data ONTAP operating system and Riverbed is ramping up for next year’s debut of an appliance that also eliminates redundant data on primary storage systems.
These approaches seem to be worthy of a look. Data is not going to stop growing, but the amount users spend on storage capacity can be controlled using these types of technologies.
Kevin Komiega has been the Senior Editor of InfoStor since 2005. He was previously a senior news writer with SearchStorage.com and held a position as a public relations account executive with Porter Novelli, Boston. Kevin also spent four years running tape backup operations at the University of Rhode Island's Academic Computer Center. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.