Tuesday, 29 March 2011

What's the story with IBM Block storage line-up?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the confused line up / product alignment that I believe EMC now have with VNX and Symmetrix… I guess if I was confused about the overlap on product there, I am totally confused with the IBM story… So far we have:

-          IBM DS8k

-          IBM DS6k

-          IBM XIV

-          IBM V7000 (latest new shiny)

4 block storage products all fighting for placement. Up until recently XIV was IBM’s new shiny thing with (what appeared to be) DS8k and 6k  taking a back seat where standard open systems needed block storage.

Of course – we now have V7000 out there and IBM pushing the product.

By the way – I am making no judgement call on product technology and if it is fit for purpose – just purely making the observation of a confused product line.

I think some well publicised “horses for courses” statement needs to be forthcoming from IBM so that potential customers can understand which product they should / should-not be looking to utilise.

and in a parallel universe NetApp announce NUCSP.

Today NetApp announce their Unified Compute and Storage Platform (NUCSP)

NetApp have taken their OnTap 8.x platform and advantage of the many cores that are now available within their scale up and out clusters to provide general purpose compute services that are located close to storage.

OnTap 8.x (based on an open source Unix derivative) is now pre-loaded with a hypervisor that allows them to run both their native storage software and also general purpose operating systems.

This is rumoured to also allow them to complete their Bycast integration, not by integrating into the OnTap suite of software, but running as a separate OS instance within the hypervisor

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Blurred Marketing - EMC Product Line - Symmetrix or VNX??

Is it me or is EMC’s marketing machine blurring the block storage products…. Should I choose Symm or VNX (clariion)??

All the hype was given around VNX recently - how it can scale big (and small) which is blurring the edge between “when do I use a Symmetrix” Vs “When do I use a VNX”. Of course – you don’t appear to have the scale out of engines that you get on a VMAX with the VNX – never the less, if you listen to the sales hype – you get told it can grow big… really really big (who knows – one day you might get more than just the initial controller pair – maybe…)

And then there is the time to market with the VNX offerings, and functionality included – arguably the adoption rate of technology within the platform is much faster than you see within the Symmetrix product line. Admittedly you do get the Rolls Royce service with Symmetrix and a high level of stability – but this is almost starting to turn into a “Risk Vs Reward” discussion – and with the ever increasing focus on cost within many organisations – it may well end up that we see a move from Symmetrix to VNX in the large enterprise space (maybe…).

I would probably help if the sales teams didn’t big up both platforms and tell us that each storage offering can do each other’s roles in life… I am half expecting EMC silos to start competitive bidding against each other within a single set of accounts – which could look very strange!

Feels a little “Austin / Leyland” to me – and I might just end up buying an Austin allegro if I am not careful (For those US Folk that don’t get this – email me and I will explain).



Saturday, 5 March 2011

Vendors - Stop selling from the top down - IT DOESNT WORK!!!

This whole vendor approach of getting into an org at the top level (i.e. senior management) and ramming technology down the technologist’s throat just pisses me off…

Why O why do we continue to see this behaviour from big vendors that should know better….

It does nothing other than generate animosity and rarely delivers value. Collaborative buy in from the right people at the right team is a far better way to work!

It’s one thing making idle promises to senior management about your latest shiny thing around impact on CapEx and OpEx with the added “of course the technology will work” and a good sprinkling of “oh we will make the numbers work for you” – You will get found out!

You want to sell a product I would suggest that the better approach would be:

-          Validate the approach works internally and it is viable (a basic step – but missed by vendors many times over)

-          Test the water with the various technology communities within an org and also get vendor management involved at an early stage – show that a business opportunity exists and technically it stacks up – Internal sponsorship is such a winner!!!

-          Work as a team - Vendor / customer team’s work so much better as you sell the opportunity into the org. If the technical offering stacks up and the commercial model fits – this is a great win/win

-          Then once the above requirements have been fulfilled – start selling at the higher management level

-          Make sure that the business case truly stacks up and can be proven (and make it easy to understand) – and please understand your own numbers – I don’t really want to have to explain them back to you!

-          ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS include the cost of change…

Please DO NOT darken my doorway with your presence if you have not followed any of the above steps….. Your failure is of your own making!

Rant over - have a great weekend!