No, this isn’t about pork bellies
In just the last few weeks EMC and IBM have announced their intentions to offer commodity server-based storage. EMC with Hulk/Maui and IBM with XIV.

Sun already offers its Thumper product, a high-density server and storage chassis with 48 disk drives, at prices competitive with commodity servers from a GB perspective. You can put OpenSolaris on anything you choose.

A few more shoes will be dropping
So EMC, IBM and Sun have commodity-hardware based storage. HDS, HP LSI and NetApp don’t. How long will they choose to hold out?

HP is part way there. Polyserve runs on HPs popular blade servers. But if density isn’t your goal and scalability is important, you may lean to another solution.

Pressure on the margin
It is a simple question, really. How will expensive hardware compete with cheap hardware? After the FUD and hand waving are said and done, customers of enterprise storage will have a new choice with a lower cost structure.

If HDS and NetApp aren’t in the new game, where exactly will they be?

The StorageMojo take
HDS is not nimble, so I’d be pleasantly surprised if they did anything in 08. NetApp also has some breathing room as none of the big boys are offering commodity cluster NAS. But that could change in a week.

NetApp appears to be the most vulnerable. Their largest customers are ripe for conversion to a more scalable architecture and lower costs. No matter how much NetApp discounts, their costs are higher than commodity hardware. They can fight for a while, but not forever. They have to be competitive and their big customers have to believe they will be competitive.

Expect to see NetApp make a cluster storage software acquisition in 2008.

Comments welcome. Is Polyserve going to meet HP’s needs going forward, or are they too going to have to buy or create a new cluster storage product?