Reading Chuck’s blog during my vacation, I stopped on his comment that multi-vendor environments are on the decline due to their complexity and the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors.
I have to say that firstly, I don’t believe this and secondly and companies with large storage environments would be mad not to consider a multi-vendor setup.
The reasons people have problems with multi-vendor environments are because they don’t spend time turning their storage into a commodity. EMC and HDS both recommend their own LUN sizes; each will sell you their management solutions; each will have their own support matrices.
But these things can and should be standardised. It is a simple task to define and migrate to consistent LUN sizes, regardless of vendor hardware. Software tools can be simplified; most people choose use command line or the basic configuration tools rather than the bloated EMC tools, so no problem there. In addition, scripting can be developed for failover and PIT/Snapshot management, making their use generic across vendors. Finally, driver/firmware/HBA/fabric standards can all be established to converge on a common set across all storage vendors.
Once storage has been established as a commodity, any new purchases can come from any of the vendors in your multi-vendor strategy.
Oh and one last thought; do you really believe HDS, IBM and EMC would give you the absolute best price if they know you can only use their product on most of your server farm environment? Competition within the storage market is a false premise; moving to another hardware platform to replace an existing one takes months (in some cases years). Vendors know that customers’ threats to move everything to another platform are only hollow unless you have a true multi-vendor strategy.