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Who Are You?

I have a request and this comes down to fair representation and comment; I'm not going to shut down debate or even negative comments on my blog. I post things and you guys can throw rocks at them but…

I think it is only fair that I know who is throwing the rocks! So if you work for a vendor or a reseller of a particular product, I would like you to use your work-email address or link to your company's website. Or just declare it in your comment. If you don't want to reveal your work email, drop me an email to to declare and I'll be happy.

Put like this, bloggers have to declare their interests and pretty much all of them do; I think it's only fair and courteous for the commentators to do the same. It doesn't invalidate your views but it allows context. And I'm not going to out you as working for company 'A' or company 'B', most of the time it is fairly easy to tell from the tone of the comment who you work for. 

Still, I would say that in general if you work for a company which sells a particular product, you should be proud of that product and should have nothing to hide. If you think the company you work for wouldn't like the comments you are making, I'd suggest you think twice before posting them.

Social Climbing

You cannot have failed to notice EMC's hiring assault on the blogosphere; especially anyone who is blogging on the wonderful world of V. It seems that EMC are aiming to get hold of some of the top talent and who can blame them? But apart from bolstering their technical resource, what else are they up to?

I wonder if some of Chuck's recent blogs give us some insight into what EMC are up to? If you strip away the EMC related rhetoric, you really end up with a compelling vision of a service oriented view of IT. There is actually very little to disagree with; even you if don't really believe in the Cloud; much of what Chuck's blog espouses what many of us have been trying to work too for years. 

So why the hiring spree? Well another common theme in Chuck's blog is that the technology to enable this change is really here and there is nothing stopping us embracing this apart from our own prejudices, either corporate or personal. It is simply a matter of psychology.
Although, the real life situation is more complex than this; there is more than a grain of truth in this. 

And I suspect EMC is actually no different; yes, EMC have some people with vision and a real desire for change but is this as prevalent as Chuck would like us to believe? My experience would suggest that EMC is changing but not as fast as people like Chuck want/need it to.
So what better idea than to hire in people who have already embraced the vision; dot them throughout the organisation and enable them to be change-bringers.

 The blogosphere is full of people with this vision and this is another example of EMC grasping social media and turning it to their advantage; also, think of the money that they are saving? Recruitment is an expensive game; by careful targeting, EMC are saving themselves a whole bunch of money.

 I hope this doesn't impact some of the excellent independent voices that we have but I can only applaud EMC for their boldness and congratulate those new hires on their new jobs.

Paging: A New Blog

For anyone who is interested, I've started a new blog here. Much as I love the world of Storage, Virtualisation and technology in general; my real love is books and I read a fair bit. The new blog is basically my thoughts and reviews of the books I read, as I read them. You might find something of interest, you might not…it might give you a frightening insight into my warped mind. 

I've always thought you can tell a lot about people from the books they read…you might end up calling the authorities about me!

An Observation and a thought…

Whilst catching up on the various blogs this week; especially in the aftermath of EMC's FAST announcement, something began to get to me. The number of competitor blogs who were obsessed with commenting on EMC's announcement even to the extent that they barely mention their own products.

I've now developed a rule:- as the number of times that a competitor's product is mentioned increases, the useful information contained in the article decreases in proportion. And if you rant on about a competitor's product and then get to the last paragraph and say something along the lines but I really don't understand the competitor's product…you have just made yourself look like a prize pillock!

So in future, it may actually be of more value to not comment on a competitor's announcement/product; instead of spending all that energy/creativity on that…perhaps write something positive or interesting about your own product. 

And can we please have #twitpiss truce!? For next three weeks, if you can't think of anything nice to say….say nothing!

Waves of Cool

You see a fair bit of discussion around Google Wave, some people thinking it'll be Google's first big failure and others very postive about it. Now I think it could be Google's first really big high profile failure for the simple reason although it has lots of potential, it has no real obvious killer application at present. And it's hard to see the value of it immediately.

Actually looking at Google Wave, this is one of the first times that Google have actually tried to invent something and get a new concept across; well, certainly one which is new to a lot of people (I worked on similar products for a small start-up many moons ago). Google are very good at taking existing ideas and making them better, these ideas though are nearly always pretty much fully accepted already tho'. Google do not invent, they improve.

There were search engines before Google; Google just did it better.

There was online advertising before Google, Google just does it better and knows how to monetise it better.

There was webmail before Gmail, Google just does it very well.

There's nothing wrong with this approach, arguably some countries have pretty much made this their whole industry. But to truly innovate, now that's hard and all the PhD's in the world are not necessarily going to generate the creative spark needed. 

This is equally true across the whole of the technical landscape and it might not matter whether you invented a concept, you just have to do it better. So whether EMC is more innovative than NetApp or whether IBM have more patents than HDS; it does not really matter from a customer's point of view. I just want products which do want I want them to do at a price which I want to pay. 

I see lots of cool products from lots of cool companies but cool is not a feature that I am willing to pay for in professional life (personally, I'll buy cool stuff all the time but I'm not going to bet my career on cool).

p.s Happy Turkey Day to my colonial readers! Remember to buy lots of cool stuff on Black Friday!

p.p.s I do have some spare invites for Google Wave if you want to give it a go.

Happy Blog Day

This blog is now a year old; who'd have thought it!!

It seems to have become part of the fabric of the many storage bloggers and it's certainly become part of the fabric of my life. I started the blog as a counter to many of the vendor blogs I see out there; trashing each other products but often not in a useful way.

I wanted to represent the customer's view; especially the larger customers, those with multiple arrays and multiple petabytes of data; those who have to struggle with management tools which didn't (and still don't) scale; those who have to deal with application architects who have no idea about what their applications do; those who don't have time to tune each individual LUN etc. 

I hope I have done so; I certainly feel that I've had some success and I know that some vendors are taking notice. I wish I was a 'Force for Change' but I think I probably more a 'Little Nudge for Change' but that is all good!

I like to thank my many readers and commentors; I like to thank all those who have linked to my blog either in posts or part of your blog-rolls. It's really quite odd when people in the industry who I have admired and read for years start linking and quoting me but hey, it's very cool.

I'd also like to thank Stephen Foskett for asking me to be part of the Gestalt IT team; that was a great honour and I look forward to collaborating on more posts with you guys!

Obviously I intend to carry on with the blog; calling FUD when I see it, hopefully talking about some of the cool stuff I'm currently involved in and generally supporting the customer point of view. And I keep meaning to do some more personal stuff; perhaps some book reviews and more about my home data centre.

And if you are ever in London; give us a shout, I'm always happy to have a beer…

Post Your Favourite FUD!!

Okay, let's get all the FUD out of our systems! What piece of FUD are you either

  • Most proud of! What scurrilous piece of FUD have you manufactured to smear another vendor?
  • Most amused by? What patently stupid thing has a vendor said to smear another vendor?
  • Most shocked by?
  • What piece of FUD actually turned out to be true?

This doesn't have to be storage specific but obviously I would prefer it to be so!

FUDdy Waters

Every now and then I rail against vendor FUD; especially in the Blogosphere, nobody especially listens and although there is sometimes a temporary lull, everyone soon goes back to their bad ways. So I thought I'd give an end-user's point of view and why it is a bad thing.

FUD is rarely backed-up with any kind of evidence; if you are going to criticise another vendor, you need to provide empirical evidence.

FUD often is couched in the terms 'it doesn't work'! Well, this is often plainly stupid; I find it hard to believe that any large vendor would ship a product which does not work! It may not meet all of it's claims but a plain 'it doesn't work'; that's madness!

If you are going to FUD product, you need to provide details and evidence. You should do it in a public forum and you should allow your competitors to respond. I don't mind competitive analysis and positioning of your product in the best possible light but please be willing to back up your statements.

Without such details, I simply treat it with the disdain it deserves!! I encourage all end-users to ask for details when presented with FUD. Ask for facts and figures; full disclosure and preferably not under NDA! 

FUD is often based on old information; competitors very rarely have information on each other's latest and greatest, so you find yourself comparing to last year's model and often features that were missing are now present. Immediately this makes me doubt your presentation because it is wrong!

Assume that the people you are presenting to are better aware of your competitor's products than you are; they've probably had the NDA presentations and know the roadmaps. And never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument about whether a feature is or isn't present in a competitor's product; invariably, you are wrong!

FUD may be fun but it often damages you more than the intended target!

Welcome to the Blogosphere

Let me welcome two new bloggers to the blogosphere Spacrc  who starts with a nice history of Thin Provisioning. Myself and Spacrc actually started our IT careers at the same company (Lloyds TSB) and pretty much at the same time. We certainly worked on the same floor but were only probably vaguely aware of each other; he was 'Big Iron' and I was 'Open Systems'. But whilst I have spent most of my career apart from a brief sojurn into the world of pre-sales as an end-user; he has spent most of his career on the other side of the fence, most recently at EMC.

His insights into the storage industry will be interesting, even when he was an EMCer, he was always one of the good guys with no illusions as to both the weaknesses and the strengths of the EMC product set. Obviously he will have tread carefully as we all do with regards to NDAs but I am expecting good things of him!

And then, I must welcome Grumpy Storage aka @ianhf on Twitter; I've known Ian for a few years as a fellow member of the EMC Customer Council; Ian is a architect specialising in storage. Anyone who has followed Ian on Twitter or knows him in Real Life will know that grumpy is an apt description. But underneath that grumpy exterior beats the heart of a real grouch! Ian takes no prisoners, suffers fools poorly and is a welcome addition to the storage blogosphere, especially as a fellow end-user.

Ian believes passionately about the future of Cloud and I am especially looking forward to his insights and thoughts in that area!!

Both of them are UK-based and both like a beer on occasion; look out for announcements of #storagebeers on Twitter and the chance to meet up with them!

The Bazzas

So the Storage Vendors' Blog Poll has finished over at the Monkeys; I must admit the result was a bit of a surprise and I suspect that there has been a fair amount of ballot-box stuffing going on; I am not sure about hanging chads, more a case of vote early, vote often!

There were three blogs which I feel deserve special mention and I am going to award my own accolades! Firstly, the 'Barry Of Distinction' award i.e The BOD goes jointly to Barry Burke and Barry Whyte

Barry blogs with passion about his product believing strongly in the fact that his is the best product!

Barry believes that Barry's product is quite simply the wrong approach and technically flawed!

Barry believes that HDS lags his product and HDS generally can't do math!

Barry believes that Barry's product is simply all marketing and bluster!

Barry quite likes and respects Barry but would rather that Barry did not know it!

Barry is technically very knowledgeable but also has a wicked sense of humour!

So I am pleased to award the inaugural Barry of Distinction to Barry!

The blog which I was most amazed to see missing was that of Marc Farley! What can one say about Marc's Storagerap blog?

The SWCAA would simply be illegal in the UK but he's not in the UK and can get away with it!

The League of Suspcious Avatars? A mark of honour amongst fellow storage bloggers to appear in this! A true recognition of achievement!

And then there's Marc's raps! The music industry's loss is our gain (I think!!)

So I am please to award the inaugural Mark of Distinction to Marc!

Now, go and vote in the Monkey's non-vendor blog poll! I'd like it if you voted for me but there are many worthy bloggers mentioned, many of whom for this is not a paid endeavour and they deserve the recognition!!