The Purpose-Built Storage Initiative is an on-going effort of Toigo Partners and the Data Management Institute to find ways to right-size storage infrastructure and to map storage choices and investments more closely to business objectives and applications.
We hold certain truths to be self evident:
- One size fits most storage products never fit anyone's needs very well.
- Examination of business processes and applications yields all of the information one needs to develop a set of storage requirements. Fitting applications to infrastructure after infrastructure is built almost never provides a good fit of technology to data.
- The core elements of storage are the same: spinning rust, spinning plastic or streaming mylar. These are commodity components.
- The industry cobbles these components into finished goods that join proprietary "value add" software at the hip to proprietary controllers in order to lock in the customer and lock out the competition. (This is an actual quote of a former EMC CEO from a presentation he made in Santa Barbara, California in 2001 before an assembly of venture capitalists and investment bankers. We aren't making this up.)
- Purpose-building storage requires the deconstruction of array "systems." Some services provided on-array today need to become services deployed in a network so that they can be extended to all storage platforms, not isolated to select storage silos.
- To make purpose-built storage work, cross-platform management must be a forethought, not an afterthought. We like developments in the realm of web services that portend to connect applications to network-based storage resources and services. Until a comprehensive web services model is created, however, there are very good SRM tools available in the market today.
- Management plus purpose-built storage can drive substantial cost out of storage technology, which currently consumes between 30 and 70 cents of every dollar spent on IT hardware and accounts for the lion's share of electricity used to power IT infrastructure.
- Management can be used as a selection criterion for storage investments. If the gear being proposed by a vendor cannot be managed using the storage management tools adopted as a corporate standard by your shop, don't buy it. This compels vendors to cooperate and to support a common storage management approach, something that SNIA's Storage Management Initiative has utterly failed to do.
- Purpose-building storage goes hand in hand with data management and intelligent archiving to drive out cost and improve both allocation and utilization efficiency in storage investments.
- Purpose-built storage requires IT to do some of the integration that they currently outsource to vendors. It lacks the appeal of the "one stop shop" or "one throat to choke" approach that has been popular in recent years, but it also eliminates vendor lock-in, overpayment for value-add features that you don't use, and lack of common management that increases OPEX costs for storage.
StorageTV is proud to support this important effort.