A Major Shift in the Data Storage Market is on the Horizon (Page 1)

A Major Shift in the Data Storage Market is on the Horizon

Is VMware's entrance to the software-defined storage market enough to disrupt the legacy storage industry as we know it?

| Mar 5, 2014 at 6:06 am CST



For the most part, the storage industry has been pretty boring for the past decade. Sure, there have been protocol improvements and capacities have grown wildly. Vendors have come and gone, and new components like SSDs made a splash here and there. From a topology standpoint, though, things have remained mostly status quo--lots of servers pointed to lots of storage devices that are either file or block. Yes, object storage has started to hit the scene, but the solutions that are available to date are really just an alternative "replace this metal box with this other metal box".

In my previous article about flash virtualization, I touched on a few vendors that are taking a new, unique approach to decouple hardware from software. While the concept is not all that new (think Falconstor or Datacore), wide adoption has been limited so far, as interoperability and true heterogeneous integration have always been a concern.

Of course, customers want to free themselves from vendor lock-in, but the reality is that the tier 1 vendors still dominate the ENTERPRISE market. Just look at market share: EMC owns nearly 50 percent of the enterprise NAS market and Netapp sits in second place around the 30 percent range.

Note the emphasis on the word "enterprise", though. The reason for this emphasis is to clarify that these same vendors have not necessarily fared well in the cloud datacenter environment. It is common knowledge that the Facebooks, Googles, and Amazons of the world have scaled their datacenters by implementing farms of storage servers managed by their own software. Sure, each of the vendors then developed their own version of a cloud-in-a-can to allow enterprises to get a close approximation of this architecture, but the vendor lock-in is still an issue with these solutions. Not to mention, the topology of these solutions are still in the legacy frame of mind of many servers pointed to many storage arrays, as illustrated here.

A Major Shift in the Data Storage Market is on the Horizon 02 | TweakTown.com

The market is about to see a major shift in this mindset, though, as several new solutions around software-defined storage are hitting the market. The big difference now is that it is not just a few new venture backed start-ups here and there. This time, the big boys are getting in the game, with the most notable entrant being VMware with the upcoming release of VSAN.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:32 pm CDT

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Kalen has been working in the computer industry for the past 20 years in a variety of roles ranging from his early days as a hands on tech, to starting an internet cafe in the 90’s. For the past decade, he has been focused on the data storage market, helping large data centers more efficiently achieve greater scale. Having worked with the largest enterprises, vendors, and resellers in the world, Kalen contributes a unique perspective on all things related to large datacenters and distributed enterprises – hardware, software, and the human factor. His stories reflect his split personality of part businessman, part technologist. Away from the computer, you will find him in the kitchen or at the grill, cooking up something delicious for his family and friends. His dream come true will be when 3D printers can really be trusted as a kitchen appliance.

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