Striking a Balance Between Storage and Networking

By Michael Vizard Print this article Print

As vendors vie for dominance, enterprises must remind IT staffers who they really work for—the user.

Because of all the different storage requirements, it isn’t practical to rely on one storage vendor to provide all the necessary storage components for your IT organization. Most customers will need a central point on the network to manage the diversity of products that make up their storage ecosystems.

This will require a significant cultural shift because the potential for paranoia over the ultimate intentions of people with different skill sets is immense.

That could easily result in individuals deciding to protect their territory at all costs. In the face of competing vendor claims, senior IT leaders will have to effectively manage the political challenge of bringing their network and storage specialists together to create a new architecture for handling large volumes of distributed data in a cost-effective manner.

In the current IT environment it’s all about how quickly data can be made available to any user anywhere in the world—regardless of where the data center is.

In that model, the I/O performance of the storage systems is what will ultimately define the success or failure of the IT organization in the eyes of the user. To achieve that performance goal, IT organizations will need to strike the right balance between their traditional storage suppliers and networking vendors.

Unfortunately, vendors probably won’t be much help in that effort. The possibility that their products could become commodities will drive storage vendors to acquire more network technology, while networking companies will look for opportunities to expand their wares into the storage arena. In fact, it’s conceivable that this trend could ultimately lead to a blockbuster merger that unites, for example, a Cisco with an EMC.

The trick for customers is to keep their vendors’ battles for storage supremacy from spilling into their data centers. The best way to prevent that is to bring those respective teams together now. Then, when the time comes to pick strategic vendor partners, the people in your IT organization will remember that they really work for you, as opposed to serving as proxies in a series of vendor wars in which they have no real stake.

This article was originally published on 2008-03-28
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