NetApp Acquires Akorri: A Nice Band-Aid To A Complex Problem

NetApp has announced their plans to acquire Akorri Networks.  While the terms of the deal are unknown, we do know that Akorri raised over $50 million dollars in VC funding and that they have over 200 customers.  We also know that Akorri “develops cross-domain analytical software solutions that optimize performance and utilization in the dynamic data center.”

Underneath the marketing literature, Akorri plays in the crowded space of Virtualization Capacity and Performance Management with a twist; they have concentrated on storage bottlenecks within a virtual infrastructure.  Akorri supports VMware and Hyper-V as well as storage systems from NetApp, Dell, HP, IBM, LSI, EMC, and HDS.

Meanwhile, NetApp has become quite a virtualization storage powerhouse that includes FlexPod, a partnership with Cisco and VMware. Moreover, this is not NetApp’s first rodeo as they acquired Onaro, storage management software, in January of 2008.  Unlike their competitors, NetApp managed to integrate rather than deprecate Onaro’s software, as it remains very much alive within NetApp’s software portfolio branded as OnCommand Management Software (OMS).

Why does this matter?  While we are firmly within the grasps of an IT paradigm shift, there are major challenges that require both short-term band-aids and long-term solutions.  After years of hiding behind the silo’d walls of IT, storage is such an area.  Specifically, storage is becoming a major bottleneck for virtualization deployments and a major headache for traditional IT Management Frameworks.

Clearly, NetApp understands this challenge and I can only surmise that their customers are clamoring for a solution.  Although Akorri does not address the long-term challenge, they do offer NetApp a nice band-aid with the ability to extend OMS to provide their customers a view into their virtualization storage bottlenecks.  I’d expect two versions of this new solution offering both a NetApp only and an Expanded solution.

Meanwhile, it is time to address the long-term challenge of the next generation datacenter.  Virtualization is an incredible technology, but we cannot forget the physical world that includes servers, storage, networking, and security.  We cannot forget the applications, both old and new, that are the centerpiece of this revolution.  We cannot forget the dynamics of a changing world and its hunger for ‘Green’ solutions.  We cannot forget the tremendous complexities and pressures that the next-generation datacenter imposes on system engineers and their operation counterparts.

Ah, but that’s another blog post.  For now, let’s celebrate that Akorri has found a new home while NetApp has added a nice band-aid to a complex problem.

Continued: Top Ten Things the “real” press writes or reports about that make me cringe

The suspense is finally over, 6-10:

6.  TV Technologists
Have you ever tuned to a technology report on TV/Radio, or read one in print that made you question whether your entire career has been a waste of time?  After-all, home networking is too complicated, all you need is a simple desktop firewall to protect your home computer, TCP/IP is safe and secure, IPv6 is here, the robots are coming, and on and on and on.  It gets even worse when they try to explain technology and its implications to an already busy world; two examples are social networking or Google Wave.   Every time I fall into the trap of watching these luminaries, my wife has to remind me that this is for entertainment purposes only.  Take my advice, stick to celebrity reporting and leave the technology to the technologists.   

7.  Cisco
When it comes to Cisco, there are no shortages of opinions, pundants, supporters, and haters.  Over the years Cisco has built themselves into an incredible machine; development, sales, R&D, M&A, and Marketing.  Let’s face it, Cisco is the industry’s Moby Dick; chasing them does no good, fighting them barely dents their skin, disrupting them leads to punitive measures.   However, Cisco is at cross-roads of sort as their core business is under attack by their first viable challenger in years, Huawei.  Additionally, if servers, storage, networking, applications, security, and management truly combine, then they will be vulnerable to attacks from HP, IBM, and more.  The U.S. needs Cisco to succeed, but instead of being mesmerized by their machine, why not remain objective of their vision? 

8.  Lawyers and Judges discussing Technology
One of the scariest yet least discussed challenges facing technology is the legal system.  The speed of technology is outpacing both the U.S. legal system as well as our international counterparts.  Out dated laws and legal decisions are only part of the problem as often times there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the technology itself and its application.   For example, the very thought that the U.S. Congress can regulate the Internet is laughable at best and terrifying at worst.  Perhaps more of us technologists need to become lawyers…LOL.  When lawyers, politicians, and “government officials” opine about technology and its future, I head for the hills and turn the page.

9.  Linux on the Desktop
How many articles do we need about the viability of Linux and how it will revolutionize the desktop?  Do we really need to read about Ubuntu vs. Apple vs. Microsoft?  How about a 10 page expose about Chrome OS vs. Linux?  Have any of these writers actually attempted to use Linux on the desktop full-time?   As “bad” (satire) as commercial operating systems are, they are vastly superior to their Linux desktop alternatives.  Why?  It takes too much work (time) to keep Linux on the desktop working; updates, modifications, compatibility issues, and more.  Furthermore, the average user has no idea what they are doing and often times they will blindly follow instructions posted to a forum without understanding what they are doing to their computer system.  Finally, get Microsoft to release Office for Linux and the conversion becomes infinitely easier while Microsoft collects the billions of dollars of new revenue.

10.  Virtualization
What can’t virtualization do?  Doesn’t it solve fundamentally every computing problem ever discovered?  It renders operating systems useless?  It has solved the compute problem?  Why do I need a laptop or netbook when all I need is a USB stick?  Wait, wait, wait….If virtualization is truly the second coming of “fire” then why did VMware need to by Zimbra?  Stop the sensationalism and let’s come back to reality.  Where are the hard hitting articles about the reality of virtualization?  Management?  How about a shout-out to IBM and the mainframe?