Storage Informer
Storage Informer

Tag: Deal

Is there a technical Sociological term for “truthiness”

by on Jul.09, 2010, under Storage

Is there a technical Sociological term for truthiness

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I’m going to Bitnorth in August. Its going to be geeky and awesome, and I can’t wait. I have to present. Everyone going has to present. I wanted to present on the idea that there since there is still a digital divide, is it possible that the new social rules that are emerging will impact a population that can’t participate in creating these new rules. And is that a problem?

But given the situation in the Gulf of Mexico (I’m from the Florida Panhandle), I’ve changed my idea just a little bit. I’m actually writing this blog post in the hopes that someone can help me with some terminology.

The background story

Since all of my family and lots of my friends still live on the Gulf Coast, I get pretty frequent updates on what is actually going on. What I hear from them is different than what I hear on the news up here in New England (where this week I heard more about Linsday and LeBron than the oil spill), or even in the newspapers back home.

Friends from a bit further west of my family (New Orleans to be exact) say the same thing – the news that is being reported is not matching the reality that people are seeing and living.

What is going on in the Gulf is very strange.

We know millions of gallons of oil are being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and they are using an extremely toxic substance to break up the oil, and that they may have drilled into a methane bubble. What we don’t know is what impact that will have on the health of the residents of the Gulf Coast, because no one is sharing the information that could help Gulf Coast residents and visitors come to their own conclusions about the dangers of living near this oil spill.

Back to my Bitnorth presentation

Here’s my idea – what happens when in this day and age information imposters use social media to control the message about an event that will impact everyone? What happens if information imposters are very social media savvy, and are able to use “truthiness” to futher their own agenda? What happens when information imposters are able to game the system to seem as if they are more relevant than people or organizations trying to get the real information out there to people? What happens if these imposters know how to work people to gain their trust, so that they are the ones with high affinity?

What happens to our idealistic view of how social media can be used to improve and connect the world?

My main question for all of you is this: is there a technical term for this concept of “truthiness”?

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An Offer You Can’t Refuse

by on Jul.09, 2010, under Storage

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

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From aspirational to pragmatic:

EMC Unified Storage Is 20% More Efficient.  Guaranteed.

That’s the tag line for the storage efficiency campaign we’ve recently launched in this hotly contested part of the market.

And, from all indications, it appears that it’s working quite well …

The Background

If you haven’t been following this particular drama closely, maybe I should bring you up to date.

This specific part of the storage market — dubbed "unified storage" (one storage platform that supports file and block protocols) is one of the most brutally competitive parts of the storage and larger IT landscape.

Smaller organizations use these storage arrays to run just about everything they’ve got.  Larger organizations use these for non-mission-critical applications and general purpose storage.  And some specific organizations occasionally put up vast amounts to support specific online services.

In this category, it’s hard to differentiate on performance, since — well — for many of the use cases good enough is good enough.  Ditto for topics like availability and replication.  And, even though there’s a ton of great software integration betwee n these arrays and environments like VMware and Microsoft, there’s only so much of that integration stuff you can use.

Which leaves us with the central topic of efficiencywho can use less raw storage capacity to get the job done?  At the end of the day, everyone pays pretty much the same for component level inputs … it’s what you get out of it that matters.

Lots Of New Technology Here

Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of new approaches to drive storage efficiency, and they tend to show up in this segment first.  Things like thin provisioning.  Compression and deduplication.  The use of enterprise flash drives to enable use of more low-cost storage devices, like SATA.  Even spin-down and automigration to even lower-cost archives, whether they be internal to the organization or provided as an external service (e.g. cloud).

So much so, in fact, th at it’s very hard to sort through all the noise and fanfare around who’s more efficient.  And, given the competitiveness of this segment, there’s an awful lot of noise indeed.

So we decided to make it easy for everyone.

The First Round Of Storage Guarantees

About a year or so ago, we all saw the first round of "efficiency guarantees" pop up in the market.  Frankly speaking, I and many others saw them for what they were — basically, a cheap marketing gimmick.

Why?  Although they offered up the appearance of considerable savings (e.g. up to 50% !!!) they had some fundamental flaws.

First, they were usually up against easy compares — to qualify, you had to switch between RAID 1 (mirroring) and parity RAID.  That gets you 40%+ just there.  Second, to get these results, frequently you had to use  more exotic configurations that required turning off certain useful features, like snap reserves. 

Yuck.

Second, when you went looking for details, there were all sorts of useful workloads excluded, like databases, or data objects that were already compressed. 

More yuck.

Finally, there were multiple pages of terms and conditions, boatloads of exclusions and caveats, and a registration and acceptance process involved.  All of the work to get any potential value had to be done by the customer. 

Maximum yuck.

Some of us thought we could do better, so we did.

A Better Guarantee?

EMC, in the normal course of our business, purchases and tests just about every decently competitive storage array in the marketplace.  We put them in the lab, and run them through their paces.

Sometimes, it’s for interoperability and compatibility purposes.  A lot of the EMC portfolio has to work well with storage arrays we don’t make.  Other times, it’s to find out what’s really behind all the noisy claims that people make — we really want to know for ourselves.

And, in the course of doing all this, we were continually struck by one observation — many of these competitive storage devices weren’t all that efficient at converting raw storage capacity to usable capacity in a predictable and usable manner.

So we decided to do something about it …

The EMC Unified Storage Guarantee

We tried to make this as simple as possible.

Configure an EMC unified storage platform using our tools and standardized best practices.

Configure the other guy’s unified storage platform using their tools and standardized best practices, or use ours if you don’t have access to theirs.

Compare the raw capacities — if EMC doesn’t do the job with at least 20% less raw capacity, we’ll make up the difference.

No disclaimers, caveats, exceptions, legalese, registration processes, etc. 

Simply put — no BS.

In addition to the program web page, there are a couple of cool promotional videos we’ve done (here and here), as well as Christopher Kusek’s blog (@cxi) where he’s having way too much fun with all of this. The backstory here is also fun: Chris worked for one of our competitors in this space for many years before recently joining EMC.  There’s also a nice Facebook fan page if you’re so inclined.

You’ll see more of t his program in the future for one simple reason: it’s working.

How This Plays Out

Customers and partners of all sizes and shapes are taking us up on this offer. 

It might be a modest 10TB filer through a partner, it might be a multi-petabyte transaction as a direct account — or anything in between.  Again, as I said above, no exceptions and no BS.

The prospect of saving, say 200TB on a petabyte-sized config definitely gets a bit of attention :-)

Customers are putting our configs up against the other guys, and they’re discovering what we’ve known all along — the other guys are pretty inefficient when it comes to converting raw capacity to usable stuff.

Most times, these people are seeing at least a 20% difference, maybe more.  To be fair, there are a few exceptions where we came in a bit under the 20% mark, and EMC has quickly made good with more free capa city with no fuss whatsoever.

Are these customers using the 20% savings to spend less on storage?  No.

Generally speaking, they’re using the savings to get an additional 20% of capacity from EMC.

Think about it: 20% more for your money from EMC.

And that’s a deal that many people are finding just too tempting to pass up.

What Lies Ahead?

As far as I can see, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t make this program a permanent fixture of our competitive offerings going forward.

The underlying basis for our storage efficiencies are architectural, and hard for our competitors to replicate.  The program isn’t really costing us anything, since in most cases the 20% savings is already there, or more. 

This could go on for a very long time indeed — there’s no reason to stop.

So, I have to ask — what are *you* going to do with your extra 20%?

:-)

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Where has Dave been?

by on Jul.09, 2010, under Storage

Where has Dave been?

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If, like me, you skirt around the edges of the fitness blogging scene, you’re probably familiar with the person who starts a fitness blog, writes about their incredible gains (in fitness) and losses (in weight) and then suddenly the blog dries up for six months or a year.  You know what happened — the person hit a rough patch with their fitness and didn’t want to write about it.

So when someone who writes about today’s workplace, about corporate culture, about working at EMC, slowly dries up in terms of post count, it might be a good default assumption that they’ve hit a rough patch at work and don’t want to write about it.

In some ways, this is true.  I’ve struggled a bit over the past year to balance the different roles I have to play in the office,and I’ve felt like I don’t have anything insightful to say about that struggle.  Some of the struggle has been in getting to know and work well with new people, and I’m never comfortable blogging about the specifics of “live” interpersonal relationships.

But there are other factors at work here.  I’ve been busy as hell with my day job, trying to figure out how to rebalance my time management mechanisms to keep me from going insane.  Entire sections of my day job are getting deprioritized in any given week, so you can assume that blog posting is getting hit, too.  And my family life has gotten busy too — for great reasons!  Having a two-year old at home is more than enough to keep you occupied and engaged.  And when I do get a few free moments, I’m more apt to deal with things that need to be done around the house than writing a post.

The truth is, day by day, I’ve just been doing other “stuff” during the time when I used to blog.  I am still active; I monitor twitter and occasionally speak up.  I read blog posts, and share them on my Google Reader feed (which gets posted here on the blog and goes out to my Buzz account).  But I miss the outlet this blog provides.

From years of blogging for personal and professional reasons, I know better than to promise anything about the future.  But don’t unsubscribe yet.  Things are about to get really interesting in my office, and odds are I’ll find things to write about.  And if not, well, you know where else to find me….

This post is from: Dave Talks Shop

Where has Dave been?

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