2011 will see acquisitions continue to come as all of the major players try to position themselves as owners of the vertical stack; we will see acquisitions to enable the general compute stack but also acquisitions which enable specialised appliance based stacks. Obviously, we will also see the major players continue to announce home-grown stack products as well.
All of these stacks will blow up smog which might well look something akin to a Cloud; the question is whether this will be a toxic cloud or something more beneficent bringing the necessary components for business growth?
One of the biggest challenges will be that we will have different types of stacks; there will be the odd case where a data centre is homogeneous but it will be more usual for a data centre to have at least two vendors. This might be for either technical reasons or for purely commercial reasons; two vendors competing may well be more honest than a single dominant vendors. And of course, there is the ever present public Cloud option to be considered.
The question is going to be one of how to manage these stacks; both from a data centre point of view but also from a rack/server position. How do we manage both the data centre and from application to spindle?
To this day we struggle to manage storage arrays from different vendors with a single pane of glass; we even struggle to get a common view let alone a common configuration tool. How much more complex will this become when we have several vertical stacks from a variety of vendors to manage?
Yes, we could struggle on and manage at the component level but how is this going to bring the reduced complexity and business benefit that these stacks could bring? We could even find ourselves using shell interfaces/APIs to produce our own consolidated tools; assuming that these shell interfaces/APIs are available.
Storage Resource Management has been a big #FAIL in general; Stack Resource Management could have a similar future unless we see vendors and other interested parties begin to get a handle on this. I certainly expect to see acquisition in this space as vendors try to steal a march on each other but really, this might a place best served by co-opetition and standards.
Formal standards? Possibly not but two or three of the bigger players could do the market a huge service by beginning to think along the lines of an open standard. And if one emerges; they could do an even bigger service but not taking the approach of 'embrace and extend'.