Before we sign off for the year, I wanted to leave you with my thoughts on 2008 and some storage predictions for the New Year.
It’s been an incredible journey for LeftHand and the storage industry in general. Just to highlight a few of our achievements, LeftHand hit a milestone of 3,000 customers this year and just last week, LeftHand was named the CDW partner of the year, which is a real testament to LeftHand being the iSCSI storage leader in the channel. But the biggest announcement had to be that our company was acquired by the best computer company in the world with one of the fastest growing storage businesses. HP’s storage business grew 13.5% in 2008, and with the acquisition of LeftHand I predict HP will soon be the fastest growing storage company.
I still remember back in 2000 when LeftHand was raising money on the promise of block storage over Ethernet and a revolutionary storage virtualization technology with scale-out clustering. A Venture Capitalist brought in Bernard Daines, widely regarded as the "Father of the Gigabit Ethernet," to do due diligence on LeftHand’s vision for storage over Gigabit Ethernet. I don’t remember his exact words, but he basically said that it’s not viable because of TCP overhead and latency. I have news for you Bernard, in the past three years we witnessed iSCSI becoming the storage industry’s fastest growing technology, which brought about IBM’s OEM agreement with NetApp, Dell’s acquisition of EqualLogic and HP’s acquisition of LeftHand Networks. In short, iSCSI's going strong, even in the face of old pundit warnings that iSCSI had limited performance compared with Fibre Channel and therefore would be inappropriate for mission-critical apps.
Ok, enough about us, it’s now time for my storage industry predictions. These predictions are mine only and may not be shared by HP.
- 2008 will be the year 10 Gigabit iSCSI becomes a reality. We will also see the Fibre Channel industry throw in the towel on traditional Fibre Channel and endorse Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). Of course we all know how I feel about that (see my “Fibre Channel is Dead” blog.
- Companies will require a dynamic IT infrastructure that adapts on-the-fly to deliver compute cycles and storage capacity with quality of service guarantees for performance and availability. In 2008 we witnessed server and storage virtualization going mainstream. Of course customers are still confused because of the abuse of the “V-word.” To make matters worse “virtualization” is rapidly being replaced by “cloud,” which makes it all the more nebulous. In a nut shell customers want an easy to manage IT environment that scales without disruption to their business, delivers high availability and data protection against failure and finally, is secure.
- The age of storage virtualization and management layer being tied to a proprietary dual-processor controller boxes will go the way of the dinosaurs. A key architecture requirement to deliver on this promise is the ability to add or remove hardware resources on-the-fly underneath the virtualization layer to deliver these service guarantees. One of the most fundamental requirements to deliver on this promise is for the virtualization layer to run without being tethered to specific hardware. VMware and other virtualization engines deliver this with the ability to move running applications across server hardware on the fly. LeftHand’s SAN/iQ software delivers on this promise by providing a storage infrastructure where physical storage can be of any type, geographically dispersed and managed as a single entity.