In the mid-80’s, mainframe disk storage prices had finally declined to levels where price elasticity bagan to take effect. However, IBM saw a slowing of growth rates for installed disk capacity during this period. The reason was that users could not effectively manage their storage – they were spending all their time and money on manual storage management. Fortunately, a team of IBM engineers and marketers convinced IBM to develop software that eventually became System Managed Storage ([DF]SMS). Although not perfect, SMS included policies, tiered storage, and hierarchical storage management. And as SMS took hold, users’ growth rates accelerated. Yes, IBM had to absorb a short-term disk-demand reduction as users were able to drive disk-space utilization up from 20%-30% to 60%-80%, but the increased growth rates quickly compensated for this.
Although no one vendor or product ever successfully captured the non-mainframe storage management market, study after study shows that a well-managed storage environment grows faster. Today’s economics mandate optimizing storage at every opportunity. Thus, we have seen the rapid adoption of thin provisioning and data de-duplication. Now data compression for primary disk storage is emerging as the next big thing in storage optimization. We expect strong adoption for this as well. And, tape data compression has been around for more than 15 years.
Over time, the Wikibon community believes data reduction technologies such as data de-duplication and primary storage compression will be increasingly embedded into vendor infrastructure portfolios. In the near term, however, compression technology as applied to primary storage and delivered as an appliance holds real promise. For instance, IBM Real-time Compression has shown that Shopzilla can get more business value from its storage.
Action Item: Vendors must optimize their storage offerings and get primary data compression technology into their portfolios now! Users should demand it and plan on it.