Put A Brick In It - InformationWeek

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1/30/2008
05:32 PM
Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney
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Put A Brick In It

"IT managers continue to place a premium on system reliability as they grapple with storage capacity concerns," started a press release in this morning's inbox. This was the key (and altogether unsurprising) data point of a vendor survey. Why do vendors bother with these blazing insights into the glaringly obvious?

"IT managers continue to place a premium on system reliability as they grapple with storage capacity concerns," started a press release in this morning's inbox. This was the key (and altogether unsurprising) data point of a vendor survey. Why do vendors bother with these blazing insights into the glaringly obvious?Such items arrive with the regularity and predictability of political attack ads. ("Sen. Guttersnipe's supporters don't want you to know she hates puppies…") And it's hard to tell if these vendor surveys are the work of feverish minds in marketing or a PR agency looking to up its billable hours.

I can imagine many of you thinking that marketers and PR people aren't alone in their ability to draw artificial attention to a nonissue. Journalists can be entirely complicit when it comes to landing on the front page, or boosting ratings and page views. Ask any reporter who's ever had Microsoft or viruses and hackers as a beat.

Back to the bright spot in my morning's e-mail -- in this survey of 150 IT managers, 80% ranked reliability as the most important attribute when buying new storage. Their top concerns for existing storage systems were capacity and scalability (40%).

"The question facing the storage industry is whether the current model can continue to support this growth in an economically practical manner while maintaining the reliability standards businesses require," the press release intones.

Actually, the better question is why even bother to have a conversation about reliability and performance at all? Well, if you're a vendor (Xiotech) that's recently acquired a division of a major hard disk OEM (Seagate's ASA unit), you may feel compelled to remind customers about their two biggest needs. Either that, or you're getting ready to lay some bricks in the data center as a removable-disk alternative to tape.

Flesh out the feature set, price it so it's easy to cost-justify, and make it easy to manage. Those kinds of obvious points are a conversation most storage buyers would really like to have.

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