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Is VMware forcing the homogenization of enterprise storage?

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Stephen Foskett wrote this article about possible futures of enterprise storage; in turn it was further examined by Scott Lowe here.

Stephen’s article posits this: is VMware forcing the homogenization of enterprise storage? (If it is, will that be at the expense of it’s corporate parent, EMC?) Is VMware’s progress in technologies like VMFS, snapshots etc. moving customers to make different purchasing decisions, away from VMware? My answer is: no. At least, not in a significant fashion.

In order for VMware’s storage offerings to prosper, they need to be able to supplant existing storage vendors that are not offering significant value-adds. Those can come in many forms, though: be they great hardware offerings, great software offerings, or perhaps even great price offerings. The companies that don’t offer anything strategic or unique are likely to go by the wayside because those are the companies whose products VMware can “replace” with its own offerings.

It’s important, then, to keep in mind the key differentiators of various storage vendors. If they have a product or a solution that fills a particular niche better than anyone else, they’re likely to survive (even against VMware as its own software vendor). However — like any performer in any market — if you make a poor product in a competitive industry, you’re going to be replaced. The only thing that makes VMware’s offerings uniquely potent is that they’re sometimes able to better-leverage the vSphere platform because they literally wrote the APIs that they’re hooking in to.

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