More pointless posturing by storage vendors in the continuing telenovela of the Storage Management Initiative Spec. Like the Latin American telenovela the dramatic storyline of the manly vendor and the alluring customer is punctuated with noisy fights, low comedy and passionate oaths of love and fealty.

Alas, it is all just theatre.
I’ve been involved in these dramas and know the drill. One character, the wealthy Status Quo, feels his relationship with the lovely but fickle Miss Shopper is threatened by a handsome and virile rake, Studly Tech. Status at first ignores Stud, hoping Miss Shopper will dismiss him out of hand. But Stud persists, and Miss Shopper, feeling Status is taking her for granted (as indeed he is) invites Studly to call upon her.

Shocked to the core of his very wallet,
Status thrashes about seeking to keep Miss Shopper’s attention. If snide asides don’t deflect her, tactics escalate. Status posts geeky henchmen in the dark alleys of the standards process to ambush the hero, while romancing Miss Shopper with soft words. solemn oaths to reform and promises of even greater love.

The tipping point comes,
if it ever does, when Miss Shopper decides to share her favors (purchase orders, in this case) with the virile young hero.

Sadly, the handsome hero is a mirage.
There is no real alternative to the current mishmash of costly and limited management products the major vendors provide. The balkanized storage infrastructure makes it impossible for startups to engineer reliable and cost-effective storage management suites. A state of affairs that suits the dastardly Status Quo just fine.

Preserving the status quo
is the goal of all this theatre. I see only two ways the current costly dynamic might change. First is through a disruptive technology, such as ZFS, applied to markets too small for the majors to care about dominating. Second is for major IT customers, particularly in the financial space, to start dedicating 2% of their IT budgets to explore alternatives to the current paradigm. CFOs need to see that unless IT vendors feel the hot breath of competition they will never give up their very profitable practices. Call it 2% for Competition and an investment in a much more resilient and affordable future.

As ever, comments welcome.