The SAN, a once ubiquitous mainstay of the datacentre, is on it’s way out thanks to the software-defined movement combined with a cheeky realisation – if they’re just putting fusion-io in front of SATA on x86 and some smarts to tier, fault-safe and replicate my precious data, what’s stopping me from the same, thus avoiding massive markup?

Microsoft’s Server 2012 R2 brings said tiering and redunancy improvements to its “Storage Spaces” JBOD-utilizing offering, along with a raft of clustered (“Scale Out File Server”) SMB3 options. In almost every greenfield scenario, this is now your best bet (or Nexenta if you’re partial to Linux solutions).

Given all that, when I find awesome ‘legacy’ storage vendor competitive advantage in 2013, its worth sharing. NetApp was my spindle-vendor of choice before the above came to fore, and they’re still in the game with FlexPod (a playbook for delivering a secure multitenant converged infrastructure inclusive of.. gasp.. ONTAP storage) and strategic partnerships, including one with Microsoft, which bears fruit like Shift, converting VMDK’s to VHD’s in a matter of seconds (as opposed to hours/days for a reasonable sized vSphere to Hyper-V migration). Awesome.

EDIT: This innovation has been fleshed out (removing VMware Tools, creating the Hyper-V VM configuration etc) in a PowerShell centric MSFT/NTAP collaboration.