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Enterprise Computing: Which Vendors Have the Right Vintage in 2010?

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There’s no doubt that 2010 will prove to be another tough year in the storage industry.  Customers are looking to continue on cost reduction and austerity programmes, squeezing assets as much as they can.  Of all the storage vendors out there, which have got the the right vintage to succeed?  Here’s my light-hearted look (in no particular order) at how the vendors compare.

  • EMC- No doubt the king of wines, champagne.  Sold in numerous brands, some of which are re-assuringly expensive, like V-Max and DMX, but others that suit the lighter pocket and don’t quite come up to the standards of a Grand Marque.  Unfortunately there’s been a glut of champagne recently and consequently prices have dropped.  As the economy picks up, prices will get back to their high levels again, I’m sure.
  • Netapp- English wine.  Yes, technically it is a wine, but really, no-one would buy it on that basis.  If you are a connoisseur, English wine is something that should be avoided.
  • IBM- A tough choice, IBM is a bit of a split personality.  On the one hand the DS8000 series is the old stuffy French Bordeaux, with years of pedigree stretching back over time.  You can trace the history of other more modern wines from this classic standard but today it looks old and tired.  On the other hand, IBM’s latest storage offering (XIV) is a Beaujolais nouveau, barely out of the barrel, fresh and new, but with no history to back it up.  Therefore it could be good, but you may be in for disappointment too.
  • Compellent – a new age wine from perhaps Chile or New Zealand.  You know people who have tried new age wines and you’ve heard good things about them.  However you aren’t quite prepared to take that leap of faith yourself and try one out, preferring to stick with the brands you know.  New age wines are making in-roads into existing markets.  Could they be the future?
  • 3Par - a classic California chardonnay.  Californian wines seem to have been around for a while, but in reality only have a modern history of a few decades.  They were trendy and popular a few years back, being unique and different in the wine marketplace.  However, they’re seen now as just another option on the wine cellar shelf, having lost some of that “new kid on the block” appeal. 
  • Hitachi - a typical supermarket wine.  OK, there’s nothing wrong with supermarket wines.  The supermarket buyers do a great job of finding reliable wines you could drink every day for a reasonable price.  But, they’re not going to set your world on fire and have you raving about them.  They just do the job.
  • Pillar – rosé wine.  You know, that rosé wine looked good in the summer when you were drinking it on holiday.  Now you’ve got home and you’re drinking it in the depths of winter, you can’t decide whether it was really a good purchase.
  • HP - blended table wine.  Some wines just don’t make it on their own, but blend them together and they take on a new life.  Each of the component wines had some good features, but not enough of them to stand alone in a tough market place.  Bring them together though, blend and rebrand them and you’ve a perfectly acceptable everyday drinking wine for the table.

Remember this is a light-hearted look – don’t take things too seriously!  What’s your favourite tipple?

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • http://whatsthisgottodowithstorage.com Matthew

    I’m delighted to see that you’re coming along with my theory of parallels with wine production parallels and data storage! :-)


    However, I have to take exception to your slating of English wine. Nyetimber, a fantastic sparkling wine from Sussex, has won a raft of awards and is a firm favourite in not only our household but the Royal Household as well. Indeed, Nyetimber is served by Her Majesty for all royal engagements as opposed to champagne.

    Here’s a list of awards Nyetimber have won:


    Equally, I’m not sure that I would equate NTAP to English wine in your scenario … i.e. ‘real’ wine drinkers wouldn’t drink English wine [not true] ergo ‘real’ storage folks wouldn’t use NTAP [not sure I agree].

    The emergence of VCN [VMware/Cisco/NTAP] is very interesting and, in my humble opinion, not just another vendor love in type announcement. NTAP have spent quite a bit of time [years, actually] perfecting their architecture to work with application APIs [VMware, Oracle, MS Exchange to name a few] and I can see the emergence of application containers, container mobility, and secure multi-tenancy being a very real and demonstrable solution with NTAP and VCN. This will provide customers the ability to outsource as they choose [one application at a time, if they really want to] without disruption to production business with very real ROI and TCO calculations which show the £ they will save by doing so.

    This isn’t to say that I don’t agree with many of your other vendor assertions [I generally do] nor do I think VCN will be the only ‘flavour’ of virtualised datacentre [VCE [EMC], IBM Dynamic Infrastructure, and HP Converged Infrastructure to name but a few].

    With NTAP taken in isolation …or indeed any of the vendors you list …I will defer to yours and others field experience.

    However, I would argue that the game has changed forever and we should be thinking about how we pair our wine with food as it will be the vendor consortiums providing VDCs [virtualised datacentres] which will provide real cost benefit to our customers in 2010 and beyond.

    Just my view, of course.

  • http://www.brookend.com Chris Evans


    I will have to try out Nyetimber. So my “subtle” reference to Netapp was on the basis that it claims to be a real storage array capable of supporting SAN/FC LUNs. Whilst this is technically true, in the real world you wouldn’t choose to do it.

    I do like your extending analogy of combining wine with food. The question is, which vendor combo is like drinking red wine with chicken?


  • http://whatsthisgottodowithstorage.com Matthew

    Firstly, I will happily donate a bottle of Nyetimber to you from the PL Collection! All kidding aside, I think it is fab and really love the earthy flavours of pear and apple you just don’t get with champers.

    Secondly, funny you should mention chicken and red wine …this is exactly what we had for dinner last night! Chicken casserole with rice accompanied with a 2007 Mercurey Antonin Rodet. I quite liked the pairing, as did Mrs. PL, and I would argue you could even go with a New Zealand pinot noir [Marlborough] or an Oregon pinot if you’ve a bit of dosh to burn!

    Horses for courses, but I would argue that people are rethinking food/wine pairings and discovering tastes they love by going some ‘unconventional’ routes …and I would argue that customers are also rethinking conventional ‘wisdom’ when it comes to data storage as well.

  • http://www.brookend.com Chris Evans

    Maybe there’s more of a story to discuss around your comment relating to “conventional wisdom”. However there’s a difference between spending a few quid on a bottle of wine that turns out to disappoint and spending £100K’s on a storage system that turns out to be a turkey.

    In fact, you’re looking for a sommelier with a flair for risk and originality – and consequently a storage architect who thinks in the same manner. :-)

  • http://whatsthisgottodowithstorage.com Matthew

    Fair points, and yes I think there’s a whole other thread re ‘conventional wisdom’ and data storage!

    Just as I will always offer a wine I recommend gratis in the first instance [I like it, but you mightn’t so I should put my wine where my mouth is!], so I would defer the right Honourable Gentleman to my comments re guarantees.

    Where I/we make recommendations re storage, we back them up with cost underwriting guarantees such that if we’re wrong we’ll write our customers a cheque.

    This, in my humble opinion, is where value added reseller comes into play. It is unfortunate that the term VAR has been so trashed in the market by many just reselling boxes whereas I would argue that VARs should be certifying and underwriting their recommended solutions irrespective of vendor flavour.

  • http://www.englishwinesgroup.com Bacchus

    I agree with the above. You clearly know little of the decent English wines around! Aside from Nyetimber the best and most consistent producers are Chapel Down. Definitely a future EMC.
    And by the way, Champagne isnt going to get any better unless they stop being so greedy and expanding the area. Its never been worse and theres little evidence its going to get better! King of wines – burgundy….

  • http://www.brookend.com Chris Evans


    Being English, I prefer to think of English wines in the way Monty Python thought of Australian wine:

    “This isn’t a wine for drinking, this is a wine for laying down and avoiding”

    Years of adverts for Country Manor lead me to this conclusion. BTW, I realise that Country Manor isn’t technically a wine… :-)


  • http://livingonthecloud.blogspot.com JR

    So what wine is the Sun OpenStorage series?

  • http://www.brookend.com Chris Evans


    Excellent question. On the one hand I’m tempted to classify it as some kind of homebrew wine, but that is probably a little harsh. Maybe its one of those wines you pick up by accident in the supermarket and are pleasantly surprised by the results!


  • http://www.storagerap.com Marc Farley (3PARFarley)

    You peaked at Netapp – priceless!

  • http://www.storagerap.com Marc Farley (3PARFarley)

    Chris, these wines need to be matched!

    EMC: Let’s see – what goes good with gas (Champagne)? How about Rolaids?

    Netapp: Bangers and mashups!

    IBM: Where’s the dried beef?

    Compellent: Mix with a little Cheez Whiz.

    3PAR: Rice cakes, mmmmm.

    Hitachi: Perfect with pancakes.

    Pillar: Hide it in the back with souvenir can of Spotted Dick!

    HP: Something to choke down the haggas with.

    Oracle Sun: Peanut butter sandwich.

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  • http://www.compellentblog.com LiemNguyen

    Hey Marc, my 91-year old Vietnamese grandmother’s favorite snack is melted cheez whiz and tortilla chips. On the other hand, I think Compellent pairs well with spicy Asian food. :-)

    Matthew, I haven’t seen Nyetimber in Minnesota. My wife’s the wine drinker in our family so I’ll ask her to look for it. I hope English wine is better than Minnesotan wine.

    Chris, great list. I also was wondering with JR who asked about Sun, and I noticed Equallogic was missing too.

  • http://none eric

    Its could be offensive to read that you compare EMC with champagne for some, if only because one is bubbly and lively and the other one is not.

    In France we (Im half french) talk more about about the “terroir” more than grapes when it comes to wine and its qualities. Read up on it and learn something new?

    Finally, allow me to recommend the following wines to your wine list:

    Torbrek, aussie wine, Monthy Python got that one wrong.
    Dona Paula, Los Cardos, Malbec 2007
    Alamos: Malbec 2007
    Louis Moreau; Grand Cru Chablis Les Clos 2007

    The two Malbecs are Argentinian wines,aka new world. A bit like your new world is that NetApp made its first billion dollar quarter just now. If only english wine was making headway in the same manner ey.. :-)


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  • http://www.langtonblue.com Rob (thebizarch)


    Have to agree with Matthew on Nyetimber. Quaffed a bottle last night. Most delicious.

  • http://zacharykwilliamson.com/seo-outsourcing/ Julie

    IBM, Hitachi and HP have the right vintage to succed! That’s just my opinion. The rest might have it too but this is my top 3 :-)

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