12 Jun 2014
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Storage goes under the knife... but is Plastic Surgery working?

If we use the classic test of asking a person is the glass half full, an optimists answer. Or half empty, a pessimists answer. We end up in a constrained and binary world.

My preferred answer is, the glass is the wrong size, either fill it up or do not. Stop messing about in the middle.

Nevertheless, to a wine buff a half glass is a full glass, because it helps you take in the bouquet (we can only taste sweet and sour, rest is smell) and this argument can go on forever.

Anyway the storage software market is going through a makeover and there are the obvious pessimists and the optimists which again is binary and we forget those who just need to create something new and have fun.

The Software Defined Storage (SDS) area is being used to hide the natural state or damaged state of storage. Similar to plastic surgery, if you believe that plastic surgery will make you look better, then it does make you look better or more beautiful.

Now there are many spectacular disasters in plastic surgery and many successes. SDS similarly is being misused and therefore I have extra job, of sorting this out.

If you are a company which makes a software package which you can install on a server with disks, which then makes the server plus JBODS a storage array, this could be called a bottom job. Yes you are beautiful and you call yourself SDS.

If you are another storage vendor and you make software which creates storage utilisation reports, simplifies provisioning tasks and general orchestration of processes then you are also beautiful and yes SDS. This could be called a face job.

Then if you were in the business of storage virtualisation and you are interested in abstraction and management of the underlying resources, yes you are beautiful and we could call this a boob job.

If you end up buying this stuff, make sure the bottom does not sag, your lips do not turn into a lifeboat and your boobs fit into your datacenter.

Make sure that you can reverse and get out of this SDS plastic surgery, when you wake up one day and discover that it has all gone terribly wrong. I cannot give better advice than that. Now, this is all crazy but a good analogy at the moment.

Summary, no matter how tedious the subject of storage is quite interesting at the moment, SDS and all its guises does put some new lipstick on the pig or dresses up the mutton as lamb hence the plastic surgery analogies.

Nothing wrong with taking old problems and giving them new names the IT industry is very good at this. I will be writing a note about SDS and SRM but not pigs or lamb, never lived in the country I am afraid.

Yes, SDS and plastic surgery is beautiful, you can now use this to change your image in a good, bad, beautiful or ugly way. The beauty and usefulness of SDS is in the eye of the beholder.

By Valdis Filks - Analyst, Gartner

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