I installed my first Storage Area Network (SAN) – a Compaq one – maybe 15 or more years ago. It took me several weeks, and I needed a lot of help. It was done in Jakarta Indonesia so that may have made things more interesting! Once we finished, the admin of it was hard and confusing, but the users did not know. They had more storage and faster than they did previously so they were happy. The customer was happy and thought it was normal the complexity and confusion around admin. I am not picking on Compaq as they were one of the very good choices at the time, and in fact it was slightly better than normal at complexity of install and admin at the time. At the time I remember thinking the install had to be easier, and the admin had to be simpler, but I also wondered at the time if there was something more. After all, in a very unreasonable amount of time there was really a lot of storage in use – bet you never heard that before!
In the 15 or so years since than we have gotten easier storage to install, and simpler to manage. So things are improving. I think that Tintri is a good example of that. Another improvement is converged (Nutanix). I know with it that it is more than storage, but you get to expand and grow it in discrete objects that include storage and it seems to be easy. But in a way the users have got nothing much more out of the storage – except performance perhaps, and with Tintri storage is also easier to troubleshoot which is good for end users. Storage has gotten more sophisticated – think of the all flash or hybrid flash storage (Nimble) for example and that has helped performance. And the management and installs have gotten easier- but still is complex for most – think EMC (Unisphere has helped things though). But we still are not getting something more. Or are we? Actifio has started thinking about this in the area of copy data. So that data in the storage array is being looked at in a different way and I think it is helping customers to be more informed. I think that Nutanix is helping too but not sure how much. But this is only the start, and I think that for customers they can start expecting more that is easy and simple, but also to start expecting new and different things from storage vendors. At least from some. If anyone has comments of what should be easier or ‘better’ than let me know.
BTW, What does better mean? Maybe….
- Easier to install,
- Easier to configure,
- and much easier to manage,
- with more operational and actionable information shared easily with admins,
- no notice to end users consuming it when admins do things like upgrades, or change their minds about something?
- or maybe easy for the virtualization admins to consume?
- and always fast enough so users do not complain?
We cannot have everything better can we? What should we prioritize?
Thoughts and comments area always welcome!
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