It's open season in storage right now, but the door is starting to close. If you have something that works with filer or block access protocols then develop away. Servers can use it. The product can work with storage area networks (SANs) or filers and you are free to sell it to customers with servers that use SANS or filers. So …
Not so hard
As long as the storage appliance can be configured to receive the traffic coming out of the enclosure, the appliance can sit logically in-line between the storage enclosure and the storage and provide whatever feature set is required. The only way this would not be possible would be if the storage actually sits inside the blade enclosure.
Storage Innovation ?
This assumes that there has been substantial storage innovation over recent times. From the perspective of many organisations, storage is still a highly proprietary set of systems with poor open credentials. Large storage organisations such as EMC, HP, NeApp and HDS lock you into their vendor stack of software which stifles innovation and compettition as things stand. The lock-in that these companies have is usually based on their management/replication/snapshot software which will only run on their hardware. To mix storage means a migration of not only hardware, but also the software too.
Real innovation would be where the is a separation of storage software from storage hardware such that there could be real competition in each of those areas as there is today on x86 servers which has massively driven down the cost of compute resource using linux as the de facto compute O/S on x86.
That 'complete stack' solutions are now appearing is an innovation in itself which is challenge the existing vendors to a much greater extent than the small incremental innovation which we have seen in recent times.
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