VMworld 2014: Top Questions ESG Analysts Hope to Have Answered

This will be my 9th year in a row attending VMworld! The event always proves to be a great display of end-user passion that is driving towards new innovation and IT vendors displaying their latest products, solutions, and services. I recently asked the ESG team attending the event if there was anything they planned to track closely or questions that they hoped to get the answers to and here is what they shared:

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection Networking VMworld Enterprise Mobility Cloud Services & Orchestration

EMC’s MegaLaunch: Storage Specifics (Includes Video)

It might seem incongruous to be talking ‘storage specifics’ when discussing EMC – after all, isn’t it a storage company? Well, I mean this in two ways: Firstly, as we move to a more integrated world, so EMC is spending plenty of energy on discussing things other than storage per se; that’s all well and good, but it’s not the focus of this blog. Second, even storage now gets broader by the day; again, that’s all great but this blog is all about delving a little deeper into the ‘vanilla’ storage announcements at EMC’s MegaLaunch earlier this month. One final point here – ‘vanilla’ is neither a pejorative nor a comment on what EMC delivered, it is merely a statement that here I’m focused on the basics. So, to get a summary of the key points for the three main product areas (in this case VMAX, Isilon, and XtremIO) I pointed my video camera at three of EMC’s finest. Take a look at the video and then my comments follow.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

Big Data Security Analytics “Plumbing”

According to 2012 ESG research, 44% of enterprise organizations (i.e., those with more than 1,000 employees) considered their security data collection and analysis a “big data” application while another 44% believed that their security data collection and analysis would become a big data application within the following two years. Furthermore, 86% of enterprises collected substantially more or somewhat more security data than they had two years earlier. (Source: ESG Research Report, The Emerging Intersection Between Big Data and Security Analytics, November 2012.)

The ongoing trend is pretty clear – large organizations are collecting, processing, and retaining more and more data for analysis using an assortment of tools and services from vendors like IBM, Lancope, LogRhythm, Raytheon, RSA Security, and Splunk to make the data “actionable” for risk management and incident prevention/detection/response.

Topics: Cybersecurity IT Infrastructure Networking Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

A Storage Strategy Built for the Future

We know the benefits that cloud storage can offer organizations - flexibility, agility, and elasticity more efficiently at lower costs. And that’s really just the start. Once you factor in the potential to address business continuity and productivity concerns with instant backup, archive, and disaster recovery plans, it’s turning into a no brainer. This, of course, doesn’t mean you should only use cloud storage. On-premises, primary storage is still important, especially for those mission-critical applications with strict performance SLAs.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection Cloud Services & Orchestration

EMC’s 2014 MegaLaunch - a Tour de Force? (Includes Video)

Last week EMC held the fourth of what it has now established as its “MegaLaunches.” The scale of the events that surround these launches is consistent with the range of announcements that are included. EMC has never been a company that can be accused of being backwards about coming forwards, but even its most vociferous critics and ardent competitors would – albeit no doubt reluctantly! – have to concede that the substance that was delivered to the market last week had some real weight and value. Of course with so much to cover and comment upon it’s hard to do justice in one blog: however, with the help of my colleagues Terri McClure and Jason Buffington, I hope that this video blog will do a darned fine job of not only covering the announcement highlights but also giving you a flavor of the event. While the video itself is longer than we usually produce, I would – with all due humility – commend it to you as a great overview, as I think it feels way shorter than its 8 minute run time.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Protection

AWS Lifts The Covers on Zocalo

Since I started covering the online file sharing (OFS) market, the big question I get from end-users and vendors alike is "What happens if AWS enters the market?” Of course, they also ask about Google and Microsoft – these are the big three and obvious vendors to ask about, given their infrastructure, cloud offerings, and the incredible price points they can offer thanks to economies of (massive) scale. But the Google and Microsoft online file sharing solutions are already known entities, and AWS (until now) is not. That all changed on July 10th with the introduction of Zocalo, the AWS secure storage and sharing solution.

For the past couple of years, AWS has been increasingly moving up the IT solutions stack – starting way back in 2006 with its first IaaS offerings and fast forward to 2013 and AWS has a pretty broad suite of offerings from compute to networking to application services, databases, and cloud services management – even virtual desktop offerings. Zocalo is a natural extension of AWS’s portfolio – it complements WorkSpaces and positions AWS to be a key IT supplier for next-generation IT (read more about WorkSpaces from my colleague Mark Bowker here).

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Cloud Services & Orchestration

EMC Opens the Cloud Gateway with TwinStrata Acquisition

The market has been waiting for EMC to acquire a cloud gateway company, but for years the speculation was it would be acquired by the cloud division as a data onboarding tool for Atmos. Today EMC announced the acquisition of Natick MA- based TwinStrata by the storage division as a part of its VMAX strategy. This is indeed an intriguing and smart move. EMC VMAX embedding a gateway allows EMC to leverage its FAST tiering technology to add a cloud tier. Of course, there is certainly broader potential for the technology to be leveraged across EMC divisions longer term. This will just be the first instantiation of the technology. It also fits well with the cloud-like attributes of the new, third generation VMAX, which introduces storage services and flexible CUP resources that can be allocated in an elastic manner to support front or back-end storage processes.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

Oracle’s New ZS3-2 Makes Me Reconsider…..

So when I say this new Oracle product made me reconsider, I don’t mean about the new Oracle storage system per se. The ZS range (ZFS as was) has been a very capable and improving storage system for a long while now. Sure, it had promise and interest when its basics were laid down at Sun, but under the Oracle TLC, that promise and interest has morphed to prowess and investment. But back to my reconsiderations; the fact is we all tend to labor under certain assumptions that we build up – often with increasing certainty, and sometimes in spite of the facts! – as we progress through life. I’d love to tell you I’m immune, but that would put me in a minority of one…

I’ll also bet that more than a couple of you reading this will also roll your eyes, lean back in your chair and whisper an exhaled “wow…I didn’t realize that” as you glance through my reconsiderations, because you were sharing some of the same perceptions about Oracle storage. So, here goes:

  • Sure, we’re willing to believe Oracle does decent enough storage, but it’s probably just good enough to be dragged along by, and support, the database software. Yes? Well, no. Next time you’re checking out SPC-2 benchmarks, take a look at the ZS3-2. Remember that this is the baby system in the ZS range (although it can reach 1.5PB and has up to a pretty nifty 1TB of DRAM and 16 TB of flash) but it beats some rather well known competitors by a mile. And don’t forget that SPC-2 is the price performance benchmark (not just a top speed measurement), so we’re not talking silly money to get the job done well.
  • Yeah, but Oracle – big and successful as it is – is like a black-hole death star, sucking users into its vendor lock-in grip. Err, well, turns out that the ZS3-2 offers extensive RESTful management APIs and – get this – not only plays nice in the Technicolor 3D All You Can Eat BOGO OpenStack Cinder world, but Oracle is actively contributing code to Cinder to boot (maybe some of those old Sun genes made it through after all!?)
  • Well, OK, but looking slightly broader than storage, Oracle has always stood alone as a world unto itself hasn’t it; great if you like it, but often swimming against the tide? One word – convergence. Or aggregation (OK, that’s a second word). The point is that many vendors are aggressiveley talking these two words but actually walking them via multiple components that could actually and defensibly be viewed – beneath the marketing veneer and system-level re-integration- as increasingly disaggregated! Oracle has arguably and defensibly one of the best convergence stories out there! Wherever the tide is headed, Oracle is certainly on a good wave.
Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

HDS and The Internet of Things

I recently attended HDS Analyst Day, which was held in Colorado Springs at the very lovely Broadmoor hotel. Colorado is very high, literally and figuratively. I took a train up Pikes Peak and got my first ever case of altitude sickness (felt like I was on a boat when I came back down). Fret not, I was fine. And no, I didn't go to a dispensary (although I totally would have, time permitting).

Topics: Storage Internet of Things IT Infrastructure

EMC Has Plenty of Storage Aspiration Left! (with video)

Last month (my how time flies!) saw EMC’s annual EMC World event. You may already have seen ESG’s broad-brush video blog that tried to cover some of the key general themes – if not, you can get it atemc-world-2014-initial-esg-analyst-impressions-video/index.html" target="_blank"> this link. The purpose of this follow up blog is to get a little more into the nitty-gritty of the storage specific takeaways from Vegas. Along with my written commentary that follows below, here is another video, as I was able to persuade Barry Ader and Jonathan Siegal to stare into my camcorder from their soapboxes for a few minutes!

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure