Last year, EMC and NetApp battled it out for DataDomain, whose claim to fame was a strong data deduplication portfolio. Data deduplication, as its name suggests, helps data center operators keep their energy and storage hardware costs in check by eliminating identical sets of data that would otherwise take up room on oftentimes pricey storage arrays. This trims the fat, so to speak, and makes more efficient use of available storage. EMC won that multi-billion dollar bidding war.
This summer, a different, yet similar sort of bidding war is playing out. Dell and HP are bidding for 3PAR. At stake is cloud storage and storage virtualization technologies, both of which can result in energy savings and carbon reductions, albeit sometimes indirectly. (Cloud storage can be disk intensive but it’s likelier to be hosted in an efficiently operated data center versus sitting on storage arrays that are sprinkled across the server rooms/closets of a business, for instance.) However, 3PAR is also an early booster of thin provisioning tech.
Thin provisioning helps IT shops maximize storage utilization rates and take a pay-as-you-grow approach to deploying storage assets. Instead of incurring the upfront cost of devoting vast amounts of storage for applications — both in terms of hardware and energy — with the expectation that it will fill up with data, thin provisioning is a storage management technology that parcels out storage as an application’s demand for it grows. When combined with data pooling techniques, it boosts utilization rates, reducing the overall amount of drives and saving energy by avoiding to have to devote power to keeping nearly empty disks spinning day in and day out.
Who will win? So far, Dell is winning the counter-offer race with a $1.6 billion (and rising?) bid. But whichever company ends up taking 3PAR home will be that much more prepared to cater to an increasingly eco-aware IT marketplace.
Image credit: 3PAR