Innovation like virtualization, deduplication, storage clustering, and Network Attached Storage solutions are coming from what are primarily developers. Having access to solid hardware platforms allows these innovators to focus on creating. This also means that the barrier for entry isn't as high as it would be if these companies had to develop and maintain their own storage hardware offering.
The result is new opportunities and market-driven needs arise as storage companies or a developer of storage software can quickly assemble a team and start working on creating a solution. Cloud storage solutions like those from ParaScale or Cleversafe are great examples. These companies saw an opportunity in cloud-based storage infrastructures and were able to respond to the market.
The net effect of all this is that while there is occasionally some consolidation in the storage industry, and someone gets bought or goes out of business, there are new companies with new ideas being added to the storage community at a much faster pace.
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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.