So what does the recent Lenovo-IBM deal mean for the storage world? I think that this needs to be considered, as IBM has had some significant innovations for the last decade plus, such as GPFS, XIV (purchased the company, but improved the product), TSXXXX enterprise and LTO tape drives, LTFS just to name a few.

These innovations have been important to the industry and have pushed on other vendors to also innovate. Now a significant portion of IBM’s overall business has been sold to Lenovo – will IBM continue to innovate, will Lenovo take over from IBM using x86 technology to create their own products? These are all reasonable questions with no really good answers today.

I suspect all of this will become clear over the next few months but in the meantime, it is going to be tough going for some IBM and Lenovo sales people. People want to see the future roadmaps and some of the products are going to change hands. Some of the products will be likely updated or redesigned. This might spur some innovation over the next few years if IBM and Lenovo both start building storage products, but right now from what I am seeing the marketing is unsure of what to do. I suspect we will see some very clear statements over the next several weeks, which will help calm the market and tell us what the product directions are going to be.

I hope the IBM x86 sale to Lenovo will spur innovation of new storage products, but in the mean time the two companies are going to be challenged to explain where they are going and how they are going to get there. If history is a good predictor, we are going to see lots of announcement that should provide us an understanding of the direction. On the other hand, if there are no announcements I would say it is going to be a tough year for storages sales for both IBM and Lenovo.