Categories: Analyst Blogs
Tags: Cohesity, data, data resilience, data storage, hybrid cloud, IBM, IBM Cohesity, IBM storage, IBM Storage Defender, storage for data and AI,
The News: Last week IBM made a number of announcements at a special event in New York City that were focused on storage. There were three primary areas in the announcement, as well as an explanation of IBM’s focus on data challenges for customers and the storage and products that IBM has targeted for those customer needs. Read the IBM announcement blog here.
Analyst Take: IBM storage focused announcements rolled out last week in NYC were fairly numerous. They included:
IBM also announced that the IBM customer data challenges the company will focus storage solutions to address were:
The significant part of IBM’s announcement last week, in my opinion, is the collaboration with Cohesity. IBM has never offered a data protection system (or purpose built backup appliance) and now they have a solution that is capable of parallel backups with the scale-out capability of Cohesity. IBM also will be able to offer Helios, which gives them SaaS-based controls.
There are obviously differences in terminology between the vendors and others but, in general, I see this as filling a gap that IBM has had and gives IBM a leap into cloud-based solutions. The details of the integration were not included in the announcement and probably will take some time before there is clarity. Evaluator Group will have more details in an article from senior analyst Krista Macomber coming out shortly.
IBM’s name change move, dropping Spectrum and replacing it with Storage, did not appear to be that important. But, I think this indicates the company putting more attention on storage and making a statement about that. IBM characterized the renaming as simplifying brand identity, but that is probably not the case with customers. Whenever a vendor changes a product name or product family identity, it is viewed skeptically by customers, and this analyst, and it takes time for a new name/identity to catch on. For example, many customers still refer to the IBM backup software product as TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager), rather than Spectrum Protect (now Storage Protect) and that name change occurred in 2015. That said, I view the inconvenience of the name change and all that implies as a positive about IBM giving more attention to the value that their storage offerings bring to customers.
The other major component of the IBM announcements was IBM Storage Defender. What exactly the solution does was not spelled out and leads to confusion, at least at this early juncture. There are overlapped products (Cohesity DataProtect and Storage Protect), a storage system that is managed quite differently than data protection and has differing controls for Safeguarded Copy, and the container solution that includes OpenShift (Storage Fusion). I can speculate on what the direction will be as a solution, but until more details are available, it is probably best to regard this as a direction for integrating various parts in some way.
Overall, I think the storage-related announcements made by IBM last week will re-energize IBM storage – both within IBM and with potential customers. The announcements need to be followed up with significant marketing efforts around messages and competitive positioning and also by sales with programs for IBM’s channel and direct sales. Storage is a relative mature area in understanding by customers, even with a continued evolution of technology. The transition to container-based environments represents new learnings and new opportunities. The challenges for a storage vendor are to retain current customers but win (or win back) against others in accounts where they are not the incumbent. This takes high value products, which IBM has, along with the marketing and competitive programs necessary to win attention and grow market share.
For a deeper dive on IBM’s Spectrum Fusion, see our product brief, which provides an in-depth overview of Spectrum Fusion, a container-native platform designed for Kubernetes applications, including usage and deployment, along with insights from the Evaluator Group team here.
Disclosure: Evaluator Group, wholly owned by The Futurum Group, is a research and analyst firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article. Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually.