Storage Hypervisors Need More Hype

At the recent Storage Networking World event, I moderated a panel on the topic of Storage Hypervisors. We had four experts representing a broad range of the vendors in this space—everything from large to small and from established to start-up.

The happy band was made up of Goerge Teixeira (President and CEO, DataCore), Claus Mikkelsen (Chief Scientist, Hitachi Data Systems), Ron Riffe (Business Line Manager, Storage Software, IBM), and Mark Davis (CEO, Virsto Software). You’ll notice that these names appear in alphabetical order of their companies (one can’t be too careful when dealing with multiple vendors…and by the way, if there are others out there who’d like to join our loosely affiliated "group," just give me a call…).

This photo shows the group smiling before the expected blood-bath of vitriol and verbal counter-claims. Well, actually not….

We’d fully expected to spend much of our time on the specific differences in approach as to how storage hypervisors operate—and I was fully prepared to referee at least small episodes of a gentlemanly, good-natured scrimmage! But we quickly discovered that the generic nature, value, and possibilities of storage hypervisors were unclear to much of the audience… and so that is where most of the discussion focused. Figuring that the SNW audience is—if anything—at the forefront of understanding storage approaches, we realized that this meant there’s a need to better explain storage hypervisors. Which of course is also a business opportunity….and all the panelists were smart enough to figure that a rising tide lifts all boats….or (giving you a choice of analogies) that it’s better to make the pie bigger before fighting over who gets what size slice!

It was a fascinating session and (all jokes aside), it was great to be around these otherwise-staunch competitors. Rather than try to capture all the details here in a written blog, I took the opportunity to interview each of the panel on video after the SNW session and that will lead to a series of three videos to be published here over the next few weeks.

So, watch this space!

By the way, just in case any of you reading this are not entirely certain of the essence of a storage hypervisor, here it goes in just a few lines. As the IT industry absorbs and adopts trends such as server virtualization, convergence, and—now—"software defined whatever," there’s a growing understanding that finding a way to better orchestrate storage is a crucial component to IT success. While the semantics and actual implementations may vary a little between vendors, "storage hypervisors" are a promising—indeed proven—technology to help address this issue. By making storage assets as flexible as server assets, a storage hypervisor can transform the economics of overall virtualization, delivering reduced costs, greater efficiency, added functionality, and scale.

See? Easy eh! Yet, while everyone understands the benefits that server hypervisor technology has brought to servers—in terms of utilization, flexibility, and cost savings—the benefits that a storage hypervisor can bring to storage are less well known. Hence the panel (albeit it became more generic and the technology and capabilities than any of us imagined up front)….and hence the video interviews.

I hope to have the first video interview posted in the next week or two.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure