A round of applause please for Mark Thiele at SwitchScribe and at Data Center Pulse who unknowingly summed up the reason why Seagate launched our Cloud Builder Alliance program in his post “Why monopolies and commoditization would pollute the cloud.”
“While there’s little doubt that several big players would come to dominate the market as is already the case today, we cannot afford to be without all those spunky new companies looking to carve out a market for themselves. These little players will force the larger players to stay honest, to bill correctly, to offer new services, and to continually innovate.”
Mark’s post on GigaOM articulated the risks of a monopolized commoditized cloud. It’s worth the read. Basically, monopolies stifle innovation, and though certain cloud providers – who will remain nameless – look to strip every ounce of differentiation out of hardware and replace it with intelligent software, it is a formula that just doesn’t work for everybody. He uses a car analogy to paint this picture rather well, “…two cars have substantially different features and solve different problems, yet they are both cars. So, the simple answer is no, they are not commodity if by commodity you mean there is little or no profit or differentiation to be found.”
The same can be said for storage devices. Each one of Seagate’s enterprise devices have substantially different features and solve different problems. From cost per Terabyte to cost per IOPS, from cost per Watt to activity per watt, to any number of combinations everywhere in between. The fact that a company building server and storage infrastructure can build almost anything imaginable for any workload supports the notion that the server and storage could never truly be commoditized. Factor in the need to continuously innovate at the device level to help enable innovation at the system level and you have a future ripe with improvement in performance, capacity, reliability, and power consumption.
Seagate sees a world where the large OEMs, and now the largest of the large cloud providers will continue to innovate on their terms, while the smaller, more hungry upstarts will look for ways to change the game. What better partner to have than those companies that want to change the game, that focus on driving innovation at the hardware level to unleash even more opportunities with software and applications.
That’s a Seagate Cloud Builder Alliance partner, and what we are seeing from these companies is just the beginning.