Storage used to be considered a snoozer of an IT beat. You get data,
you store data, and sometimes you back it up. Couldn’t be simpler.
Right. Well, the storage beat is a bit more than that. Storage is the
home base for all our data, in whatever form. The advancements in
various types of media, cloud systems, management software, dataflow
accelerators — there is a long list of subsets — make the sector more
compelling all the time.
Looking back at the recently-passed-into-memory 2011 with a data storage
lens, we saw few dull moments at eWEEK. Following are, in somewhat an
order of importance, the most impactful storage news stories of 2011.
November: Thailand Floods Significantly Impact HDD Industry.
Record rainstorms and flooding in Thailand-a region that assembles
about 70 percent of the world’s HDDs — caused a flooding disaster that
hit the world IT supply chain harder than the March 2011 Japanese
tsunami. As a result, there are now massive shortages of the
IT-cornerstone product in the first quarter of 2012. Prices on these
various drives are doubling — and even tripling — at this point. Smart
companies had already stocked up on these way beforehand.
August: HP Banks Heavily on Autonomy for Unstructured Big Data Help.
Hewlett-Packard spent $11 billion for a software company (Autonomy)
that knows how to handle big data in an enterprise, tipping off an
important future direction for the world’s largest IT company.
October: Dell and EMC Get a Storage Divorce.
Following a complicated 10-year partnership that was to run until 2013,
Dell revealed that it had officially discontinued reselling all EMC
storage products two years early. Due to its acquisitions of EqualLogic
and Compellent, the partnership didn’t make sense for Dell anymore.
August: Virtual Machine Cloning: New Alternative to Snapshots.
Oracle showed that image clones are a completely new virtual disk
object, independent units that can have new lives of their own.
August: Newcomer Box Moves into Tier 1 Partnerships.
These include VMware, EMC, Samsung and Netsuite. Box, a rapidly growing
cloud services company, is now operating in rarified air of top-tier IT
companies with bold new deals. The company already has 7 million users
in only three years of operation.
April: Seagate Buys Samsung’s HDD Franchise for $1.38 Billion.
Seagate, which owned 29 percent of the world’s HDD market coming into
the Samsung deal and now will own 40 percent, jumped back into the
marketshare ballgame against WD.
September: Seagate, Hitachi Come Out with 1TB Platters. No ceiling yet reached for storage capacity on hard drives, although there are definitely limits.
March: WD Acquires Hitachi Storage for $4.3 Billion.
Hitachi Global Storage, a division of Hitachi Ltd., was the world’s
third-largest hard drive maker. WD and Seagate are now clearly the world
August: PCIe Flash Goes Mainstream.
The NAND flash-powered PCIe interface (championed by Intel, Fusion i-o
and a few others) is becoming dominant in the enterprise solid-state
disk market, with unit shipments greater than the combined shipments of
its SAS and Fibre Channel counterparts expected in 2012.