Storage Soup

May 7 2008   3:44PM GMT

IT angst

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Is it just me, or is there a bit of a sour mood going around? Must be the economy.

But angst makes for good blogging – it’s a time-honored formula. Below is a grab bag of some of edgy IT blog posts from the last week or so.

Chuck Hollis on Do it Yourself Storage: Such a silly idea, he had to devote a blog post to picking it apart, piece by piece. I’ve spoken with a few SMB users recently about NFS- and iSCSI-based storage, and despite the continued efforts by larger companies to move downmarket, it’s often the “do it yourself,” ultra-cheap, basic brand of storage they wind up choosing — the kind that lets you turn DAS into an iSCSI SAN, for example. I’ve talked to a couple users in just the last few weeks who have said specifically that EMC boxes they either were already using or had evaluated using were just too expensive…and it’s not like that was the first time I’ve heard that about EMC’s gear, either. 

In fairness, Sun’s not exactly blowing anybody away with their storage numbers – and this really is a well-written, thoughtful post by Hollis. But of all the things there are to poke holes in about Sun’s DIY storage, I’m still surprised to see him take the tack (among others, a ways down in the post) of cost comparison with EMC’s proprietary systems.

SanGod- Still Bored: Jesse’s been working on a Clariion system when he’s used to running DMX, and, well, he can’t contain his lack of enthusiasm. But he also includes an interesting tidbit about how those two different arrays work–

I found that I tend to over-engineer Clariion designs.  I guess such a large part of me wishes I was still working on the Symmetrix/SRDF configs of my past that when presented with what turned out to be a simple Clariion config, I spread the raid-groups a little too efficiently, which, according to the second set of eyes I had working with me, can actually cause more problems than it fixes.

Silly me – I assumed that spreading the IO across both spindles and DAE’s was a good thing.  (It used to be, but apparently not so much now).

Wonder what that’s all about…

The Old Storage Guy (OSG) at Storage Sanity wonders aloud whether the trade show format has jumped the shark when he witnesses the show floor at Interop (also contains must-see picture).

The above are good reading, to be sure, but the following two posts are in a dead heat for my favorite IT rantblog of the week.

Steve Duplessie – Get Ready for Some Chinese Take-Out…: And he’s not talking pork fried rice. What he really means, as denoted by his ellipses, is “…of Silicon Valley tech companies.” Choice bit:

I became interested in [H3C] when Jon Oltsik told me that technology and capability wise he felt that Hua Wei/H3C could pose the only true legitimate second choice to Cisco globally. How could a company I’ve never heard of threaten Cisco? His logic, which I agree with, is that there really is no true number 2 – that as great as the next level of big guys all are, if you add them all up they still don’t come anywhere close to Cisco. We know from history that N.A. and European IT buyers like to always have a number 2, if for no other reason than to try to keep number 1 honest. It happens with servers, storage, and every other area of IT, but as a general rule not at the core network. With the right technology, built to be sold profitably at a huge discount to Cisco, and enough marketing money, Jonny figures they could grab significant overall global share even if they never even really threaten Cisco – just to let Cisco know that the IT guy has an alternative. I like the argument. Human nature is a tough thing to beat. With billions in revenues already, clean IP that works (they have over 700 patents), and a bankroll big enough to pull it off, the only remaining question is does H3C really want to be a global provider?

If we assume the answer is yes, then H3C – who is widely watched by a lot of other Chinese tech companies who would love to be able to follow in their tracks – is only missing one piece – a go to market strategy and execution plan. Just like U.S. vendors have often totally misunderstood the Chinese market and how it differs wildly from N.A. and European markets, so too do many of the Chinese. The difference that I have seen, however, is the Chinese appear willing to learn whereas Americans tend to take a more ‘ready, shoot, aim” type of strategy, only to clean up the messes we make well after the fact.

Then there’s Barb Darrow’s post on’s blog, Channel Marker, today. So far, it’s my favorite bit of commentary on the failed Microsoft-Yahoo deal.  The enjoyment starts right at her title: Microsoft and Yahoo: Dumb and dumber

And finally, a little angst of my own: Dell made a self-described “blockbuster” announcement around server virtualization today, most of which doesn’t apply to storage, except where it comes to the fact that EqualLogic’s replication will support VMware’s Site Recovery Manager. From the storage perspective (and the storage perspective only; I’m sure there are more significant developments on the server side with this announcement), that’s not a blockbuster – I’d be shocked to hear of any major storage player NOT supporting SRM.

Yes, I wrote about SunGard supporting SRM today – but they’re also talking about adding cloud computing-based secondary data centers to support SRM, which would break the one-to-one relationship between primary and DR systems and shut out any storage vendor without a heterogeneous replication tool–not only a rare step forward for smaller companies when it comes to multi-site DR, but more fodder for the ‘VMware vs. storage vendors’ gristmill. That’s where SRM could REALLY be a blockbuster.

In the meantime, according to the press release from Dell, there are apparently still more TLAs ending in -AN out there in the world that I haven’t yet heard of: the one they use is PAN, for Processing Area Network. So now we have SAN, WAN, LAN, MAN, FAN, PAN…is it Friday yet?

P.S. As long as we’re bemoaning acronyms, Duplessie has another nice post up on the “-as-a-Service” acronym currently in vogue. Rarely does an article about storage make me spit coffee at my screen laughing, but that post did it, with the part about a tow company using “Jack as a Service” (think about the acronym).

3  Comments on this Post

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  • Jesse
    Angst is angst - and geeks have it in spades. The hardest part of being on the post-sales side of the process is that we end up having to take what was sold and somehow make it fit in with what the customer is expceting. More often than not there is a pretty heafty disconnect between these two. Add unfamiliar hardware into the mix and the frustration only increases.
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  • Davenportgroup
    Being in IT as long as I have (First DP, then MIS, now IT), we tend to throw rocks in angst, as the vendors try to set the direction, share their vision, and sell their "old" stuff as "new". Watching the traditional Storage Vendors take their "Big Iron" and try to scale it down, gets pretty comical, and at the end of the day, not very affordable. Their marketing machines will of course paint a different picture, but we have seen that before. It is vital that those of us who understand the value of educating the world of IT, do in fact do that. Somebody has to pick this mess apart. That is why I always read Toigo, Hodge, and Duplessie (among others). Duplessie's take on anything is always worth reading. He will say what he thinks and say it in a way that will bring a smile or a belly laugh. DELL's "Blockbuster" is anything but. Leave it again to the marketing machines to influence thought and attempt to drive revenue back to the mother ships. Nothing new here but an announcement Paul Clifford Davenport Group
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  • yfeefy
    The 'hefty disconnect' is because the sale is often made between the vendor's sales/marketing person and the customer's CEx: neither of these is qualified in any way to perform a business transaction involving items of a highly technical nature. Is it any wonder the technical folks at companies want your ( as the vendor's representative) throat?
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