If you didn't see the buzz yesterday about NetApp picking up Bycast, you need to crawl out from under your rock. Seriously, more people RT'd the news instead of actually commenting on it and its meaning.
I know folks at both Bycast and NetApp, and have worked with some of them in standards bodies. They are smart people, dedicated to furthering the value of storage, and for solving issues for customers. Particularly Bycast has been knee deep in healthcare, an area which I am most interested in having worked inside a hospital for a number of years. So when I heard about the announcement that NetApp wanted to acquire Bycast, I thought that overall it’s a good thing for the storage industry, as it demonstrates our collective intention to create more value in what we do for customers.
It is also a statement about the future value of object based storage, where we just announced our own object archiving platform last week.
Which brings me to the thought of glue.
Glue is good for easily patching things together, and it solves an immediate problem. But in the end, you know deep down that in all likelihood, you are going to replace that thing and that at best you are buying yourself some time. By creating an object store using Bycast, I think NetApp is going the glue route. As Chuck at EMC points out, this is more of a tactical move and not strategic, sort of kind of like applying glue.
At Dell, we took a bottoms up approach, skipping the easy path and choosing to build a hyper scalable, meta-data rich, self-healing object store with no bottlenecks. Bycast glues together NetApp block and file offerings, and creates a layer that looks like object, but like glue, things get tacky and sticky as it cures. The Bycast interface is old school, with databases and access nodes that create bottlenecks between applications and data. In contrast, Dell’s solution is built on standard interfaces designed for high performance, with no bottlenecks and immense scaling potential.
Overall, when it comes to providing value for customers, we chose an approach that simplifies deployments AND system management, including new energy efficiency controls and reporting. Details of all this are coming soon, but suffice to say for now you can’t get all these features with glue.