Enough of Google’s bathtub brew
IBM’s purchase of XIV makes it official: cluster storage is on a roll.

XIV’s website could have been ripped from the webpages of StorageMojo:

. . . enterprise-class storage systems typically comprise proprietary, special-purpose hardware, such as backplanes, shared memory architecture, and disk shelves. Huge amounts of resources are spent on developing and testing these products — with the associated costs passed on to the user. Moreover, special-purpose hardware quickly becomes obsolete, with a long wait time until new-generation processors, switches, and other components are integrated.

It also appears that the Nextra product has done away with RAID 5:

The Nextra system uses innovative RAID-X design, in which each disk is split into small pieces, and each piece is mirrored on a different disk. As a result, when a disk does fail, all disks in the system participate in the rebuild.

They don’t like ILM:

The ILM concept is rendered redundant, saving on ILM-related software license costs, administration efforts, and management attention, and sparing users migration-related downtime and other service issues related to ILM

Payback time?
Moshe Yanai, the executive chairman of XIV, was the chief engineer for the original Symmetrix that EMC used – along with raging incompetence at IBM – to destroy IBM’s lock on enterprise storage. Not only was he the engineer, he also got a percentage of the sales price of each Symm sold, making him a wealthy man.

But when EMC bought Data General to acquire the Clariion storage division, Moshe didn’t like it. After a long fight, CEO Joe Tucci pushed Moshe out of EMC and continued the successful Clariion product line. Moshe went back to Israel and eventually developed the Nextra product for XIV.

Gee, do you think his tie-up with IBM might be aimed at his former employer? A little?

The StorageMojo take
EMC’s Hulk/Maui and IBM’s XIV products are aimed at different parts of the market. IBM doesn’t have a large high-end array business to protect so the Nextra’s positioning as

A winning new storage paradigm for the enterprise
XIV Ltd., creator of Nextraâ„¢, has undertaken to design and produce the next generation of enterprise-class SAN (Storage Area Networks) systems. Nextra was created based on the principle of providing a simple solution for meeting the herculean IT challenges of today and tomorrow.

isn’t the problem for IBM that it is for EMC, desperate to protect the margins and revenue of the Symm line.

But both products are built on (quality) commodity hardware, so if one or the other needs to make mid-course corrections they can do it in software. Positioning Nextra as enterprise storage puts the heat on EMC and the Symm.

It will be interesting to see who gets to a boil first.

Comments welcome, of course.