It’s certainly been a busy week in the world of enterprise computing.
First, Cisco announced their Unified Computing System – blade servers to you and me. UCS integrates blade servers with management functionality and the Unified Fabric. What’s interesting is that Fibre Channel gets pushed out at this point in favour of either iSCSI or FCoE. Whilst there’s plenty of commentary in the blogsphere on the server implications to this announcement, I’m more interested in the trend it sets for storage and in particular the movement away from Fibre Channel connected devices.
I’ve commented before that I didn’t see a great need to shift to FCoE as it introduced additional cost and unnecessary technology change. Clearly if you’re re-architecting a datacentre based on Cisco UCS, then FCoE will likely be the protocol of choice. I’m not aware of any vendors actually shipping storage arrays that support FCoE (I know Netapp and EMC have stated they will support it – they did that last October).
Perhaps this indicates even further the move to commoditisation of storage components.
Next there’s the rumour that IBM are looking at acquiring Sun Microsystems. There’s no doubt that Sun are cheap; at the height of the dot-com boom they were trading at $257.25 a share (1 September 2000). By October 2007 they were less than a tenth of that figure ($24.92) and earlier this week, they were less than a quarter of that, making Sun worth less than they paid to acquire StorageTek in 2005.
What would IBM get? There’s the obvious MySQL and Java components from the “classic” Sun business, but what about storage? Well, there’s the StorageTek libraries – but IBM already have a business selling ATLs and multiple (and competing) drive formats – and tape doesn’t have a long-term strategic future in anyone’s business. Then there’s enterprise storage arrays – rebadged Hitachi boxes. Could this be the opportunity for IBM to finally shelve the DS8000 dinosaurs or would Hitachi run a mile from IBM? Just think how EMC would react if HP, IBM and HDS were all selling the competition to DMX. The rest of the range is pretty generic modular stuff but does include the 7000 series,which IBM could use in replacement of their Netapp N-series relationship.
Finally, EMC announced upgraded capacities to their Enterprise Flash Drives. These come in at 200GB and 400GB models, keeping pace with existing traditional HDDs. If anyone is prepared to say, I’d be interested to know how much EFD prices have dropped (per GB) since their introduction. Hopefully DMX-5 (DMX-V) will provide granular access to these devices.