They are lifeless ideas nearly devoid of meaning – but they just won’t die. Like real – if a mythical creature can be called “real” – zombies they take a long time to kill.

In a time of economic crisis, when IT organizations are begging for resources from gimlet-eyed CFOs and IT marketers are trying to win attention to new products, the industry needs new ideas. And that means getting rid of some old ones.

And the nominees are:

  • Grid. StorageMojo declared “Grid is dead” 18 months ago, but some people didn’t get the memo. Call it a cluster and make life easier for your prospects to understand what you’re trying to sell them.
  • CAS. Content Addressable Storage has the germ of a good idea – extended metadata – but as a feature it has been overtaken by the more recent need for e-discovery and compliance features. EMC didn’t help by attaching the name to a costly, proprietary and hackable platform.
  • Object. Objects come in 2 varieties: files with extended metadata wrapped around them; and data slices of consistent size -like the Google FS chunks. Extended metadata isn’t a useful differentiator – see CAS above – so calling a file with a metadata wrapper an object may be correct but it it doesn’t help prospects understand what you’re doing. It’s a file with extended metadata.
  • RAID. The term RAID started losing its mojo years ago and the trend has accelerated with the adoption of “file-based RAID” and other data protection strategies. Yes, customers have been well-trained to associate RAID with data protection goodness and that’s worth something. But if you have redundant data protection that isn’t RAID you’re missing a chance to say to say “better than RAID.” RAID 5/6 controller costs and reconstruction hassles are worth some snark if you don’t have them.
  • Cloud. Yep, the word du jour is, because of its popularity, rapidly being drained of meaning. Public? Private? Compute? Storage? Cheap? Secure? Software? Infrastructure? What??? Sure, talk about cloud, but for goodness sake don’t put the word cloud in a product name. You’ll regret it within 2 years if you do. If you simply must then follow EMC’s oblique approach with Atmos.

The StorageMojo take
Marketers are exhorted to create a niche and dominate it, which leads to much unneeded niche creation. Most die unmourned, except by the people who wasted time and money trying to instill life and meaning into them.

Once we have terms like RAID that are accepted we are wise to use them for as long as they make sense. But for many vendors RAID is no longer what they do. The term obscures the real advantages of their architecture.

Extended metadata is an idea for which we have no good label today. Yet it is now needed in many markets because we are realizing that electronically stored information needs more metadata the longer we keep it.

A clever, catchy name for extended metadata would help the industry educate customers on the need and the benefit. Any ideas?

Courteous comments welcome, of course. No, I don’t have any ideas for what to name extended metadata. I’m not very good at naming.