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Start-Ups Galore

Recently it seems that there are more storage start-ups than ever before; be it flash-based storage, object storage, storage aimed at virtual environments, cloud storage, storage as software, storage appliances; it seems that every day more and more press releases announcing yet another innovation in the storage space hit my email address.

How many of these are truly innovative, not so many I guess but it seems that the storage start-up industry is in rude health. It seems that the barrier to entry into the market has significantly dropped and that the introduction of commodity-based hardware and software has really changed things.

And yet we still see the doom merchants predicting the end of the storage administrator and to be fair, a few years ago, I might have been in agreement but the sheer diversity of storage infrastructures, big data growth and just general growth leads me to feel that the storage administrator role still has life. Yes, it will change the role and the role will evolve much as storage has evolved and the role may become more virtualisation focussed but there will still be storage specialists and there will probably be as many as ever.

I am going to do my bit to ensure that the role of the ‘Storage Bod’ continues and encourage the diversity which will drive more complexity; I am a judge for the Tech Trailblazers awards, so if you are a new storage start-up and your product can further drive the complexity into the storage environment, you should enter. But if your product is really simple, just works and makes lives easier, please don’t bother….we want the environment to stay complex and a black-art.

Of course I am probably in the minority and some of the judges will be looking for more sensible things, so I guess start-ups with products both complex and simple should probably enter. There’s some good prizes, some great sponsors and excellent judges (well, better qualified than me anyway).

As I say the barrier for entry to the market seems to have fallen somewhat but some extra cash and help is always handy.


  1. Rob Commins says:

    Hi Martin –

    I am in California, still drinking my AM coffee, and almost spit it across the room in laughter while reading your post. The firm I am with, Tegile Systems, is certainly one of those startups making storage easier to manage, but I think we are all just passing a management hot potato.

    Once storage becomes easier, and more capable of serving more concurrent apps, users will want to cram more apps into their servers, thus churning the bottleneck circle of life. After spending the week on the floor at VMworld SF last week, I strongly believe that the IT admin’s role is secure. There is so much new technology and complexity on the horizon, there is little chance of job risk in the foreseeable future.

    Great entertaining post!


  2. Cool initiative. I’m curious with what the participants might come up.
    For the admin topic: It’s an important cognition that storage admins will still be necessary in the future, although obviously many CIOs are and were told otherwise. As a tech support guy I see it with increased regularity that storage management – and troubleshooting in problem situations – is done by unskilled people overwhelmed by the complexity of their environments. During a complex problem determination it’s incredibly worthwhile for me to have a skilled storage admin – well aware of his environment – as a counterpart to work together.
    Cheers seb

  3. Chris says:

    Just sharing..

    Promoting complexity will certainly help you keep your job so long as you can keep the complex beast you made running. It might be hard to find a job after if that is the design paradigm you strive for. imho.

    A good concept to read up on is baffling interactions. I have seen these come to life a couple of times in IT.

    Even if we architect our solutions to maximize simplicity, the nature of technology at a lower level (so far) is such that we are still moving towards more complexity. I don’t think it is something we need to strive for in any way but something we should be avoiding where we can.

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