We will face a whole slew of storage supplier releases for VMWorld at the end of the month. Each will laud its owner’s credentials as the best possible storage products to work with VMware’s ESX and Virtual Infrastructure.
VMware is proving to be a remarkable accelerant for storage innovation. DataCore and Left Hand Networks package their SANs as virtual machines; a SAN is just another server application to be virtualised.
EMC, Dell, HP and NetApp introduce storage arrays that combine Fibre Channel and iSCSI SAN functionality, that have very quick and straightforward provisioning and that can also function as file stores with various kinds of NAS head such as a Windows storage server.
There is an amazingly beneficial flood of storage innovation coming along which provides hugely attractive shared storage at affordable prices and it is occurring not because people want it, well, not directly, but because customers are racing into server virtualisation and they need shared storage to make the best use of that.
Also, when provisioning a server took weeks or more then a few days provisioning storage was neither here nor there. But when you provision a virtual server in minutes then that sets a benchmark. People don’t want to be held up by slow storage provisioning.
They want it now.
But more is coming. It’s all very well having an easy-to-use GUI to provision the storage off a clever array. What is needed is an API interface to it so that a single VMWare session can provision a virtual server and have the storage provisioned as well.
VMware, and its peer products, are becoming the place where storage provisioning and management is carried out. Although a SAN (and maybe NAS) is being provisioned, from the VMware administrator’s point of view this shared and networked storage is effectively subordinate to, and directly connected to, VMware. It is VMware’s DAS (directly-attached storage).
In effect VMware is the single most influential driver today of storage innovation. Lordy, lordy EMC, look what you have unleashed.