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Posted by Andrew Reichman on April 12, 2011
I was recently taken to task in the twittersphere (I post as @reichmanIT) by @Knieriemen, a VP at virtualization and storage reseller Chi Corporation and the host of the Infosmack podcast. Mr. Knieriemen took exception to statements about storage single sourcing I made to the press related to a recent document about storage choices for virtual server environments, including the following:
He followed up his comments with the following clarifications:
@reichmanIT In context to managing data center costs, single sourcing is probably the worst suggestion I've heard from an analyst
@reichmanIT In a virtual server environment, storage is a commodity and should be purchased as such to control costs
I don’t know Mr. Knieriemen personally, and I must admit that I was taken aback by his blunt approach, but I’m from New York and have a thick skin, so I can look past that. The reason I bring this up on Forrester’s blog is solely to take a look at the actual points of view brought out in the exchange. The crux of the argument is whether or not storage is commoditized, and in my opinion, it’s not (yet anyway). There are three reasons why:
I’m by no means an apologist for the shortcomings of the big storage vendors. But in my opinion, the industry is not yet ready to throw out the trusted relationships that govern storage architectures and purchasing. So yes, I do think that it makes sense to pick a single storage vendor for each major workload stack (server virtualization, mainframe, file, data warehouse, non-virtualized OLTP databases, etc.) and stick with it. While you may be able to shave off some percentage points in negotiation through increased multi-sourcing, the complexity you add is likely to increase TCO in the long run and diminish the benefits of private cloud and virtualization initiatives.
In the end, I’m curious whether Mr. Knieriemen is just spouting clichéd pipe dreams about virtualization, commoditization, and multi-sourcing, or whether he really does have examples of better solutions. Is he delivering SAN-less architectures based on commodity servers with external virtualization layers managing data protection and advanced features that deliver equal or better performance and resiliency at lower price and without lock-in? If so, I’d love to hear about it. More importantly, I’d like to hear directly from infrastructure & operations teams. What are your thoughts on this? I’m always willing to have my eyes opened to new ideas, but calling me dumb just isn’t enough to get me there.
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