For decades, enterprise storage has been widely viewed as—let’s face it—an important but largely commoditized IT necessity. After all, every application needs storage. But following a highly innovative period in the 1980s and ‘90s, advances in enterprise storage slowed to a crawl compared with other IT functions. In fact, storage vendors’ products all evolved to be quite similar in terms of capabilities.
That fact shouldn’t be surprising, as the key building block of enterprise storage—the
disk drive—has itself only seen incremental improvement in that time, mainly in increased
capacity and density. Performance, on the other hand, has actually declined
tremendously during that same period when viewed on a per-GB basis, because per-drive
capacities have increased while per-drive performance has remained roughly flat.