Heavy metal blues

Last month's Storage World exhibition in Dubai highlighted a trend that is seeing the big storage vendors singing from the same song sheet: “We're not here just to shift heavy metal.” The ACN team was there to listen.

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By  Team ACN Published  June 1, 2006

|~|storage200aaa.jpg|~||~|It has become very evident over the past year or so that the big players in the storage market are no longer focused on shifting heavy metal; they're moving rapidly into the software game where total information management solutions rather than tape, disks, arrays, NAS and SANs are the order of the day.

One of the reasons for this move to solutions is that storage operational costs exceed hardware costs. User focus is on getting those costs down. To do so they are looking for better management tools, more efficient architectures and the deployment of less hardware through the adoption of virtualisation and consolidation strategies.

As incongruous as it sounds, the hardware vendors at the exhibition were punting buying less equipment, though many admitted that the user mindset of continuously throwing more equipment at the storage problem prevails in less enlightened companies faced with exploding volumes of data.

John Bentley, sales director, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Middle East, said: “We have moved from addressing a data storage environment much more to information storage management. Today, users need to analyse data and analyse information in order to determine the more appropriate storage platform. Users didn't do this before. They just bought more disk.”

According to IDC, data volumes at businesses in the Middle East are growing by 50% per year, but despite this growth organisations are still not managing their information as effectively as they could.

EMC has been making the data-to-information management transition for sometime and no longer likes to be called a storage company. After a US$4.1 billion spend on 15 technology acquisitions, predominately software ventures, over the past 18 months, the company sees itself today as an information management solutions and services company providing the enablers to information lifecycle management (ILM) deployments.

In fact, software and service revenues today account for 50% of the company's revenues. With a further $1.2 billion earmarked for software development and new technology acquisition in the year ahead, software and services, which include consulting and managed services on business continuity, disaster recovery and data assessment, could account for the majority of its revenues soon.

“I hate it when people call EMC the leader in storage because we are not any more. If they're talking about our hardware, then yes, we are still the leader, but right now we're really not a storage company. We're an IT information management company,” said Mohammed Amin, general manager for EMC Middle East.||**||

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