Stirring the…er…Stuff

by Administrator on April 24, 2014

I can’t get an exchange out of my head that occurred, like, a month ago while I was traveling abroad.  Of course, I keep Twitter running on my mobile phone so, you know, I can get sticker shock for data services used while traveling in other countries.  That bill came today.  OUCH!

Anyway, while commuting, I saw a post by Storage Switzerland tweeted out that criticized VMware/EMC VSAN in some nuanced ways (he is Swiss after all, so he never has any show stopping gripe with any vendor who might hire his pen in the future).  However, even the slightest prick is enough to awaken the MIGHTY EMC BLOGGER Chuck Hollis, who took umbrage with the Swiss one.  What caught me about the exchange was not the substance (of which there was very little), but rather Mr. Hollis’ strategy for responding to the “insult.”  Wrote Hollis:

One aspect of our industry that I find especially annoying is the “pay-to-say” analyst model.  The usual scenario is that one vendor wants to discredit one or more other vendors to make themselves look better.  They contract with a freelance analyst, who hopefully brings more expertise and the appearance of independence to the table.

The few analysts who use this model fiercely brand themselves “independent”, perhaps in the sense that they are not affiliated with one of the big name industry analyst firms.

What Mr. Hollis seems to be doing to respond to a critique, erred or not, of his preferred technology is to attack the sincerity and independence of the spokesperson — an ad hominem attack, as it were.  GridStore must have paid for the critical statements made by the Swiss.

Truth is, it doesn’t matter who paid whom.  If George and his group were in it just for the money, they probably would have sold their pen to EMC, the firm with the deep pockets at the moment.  Lord knows they have bought and paid for so much pay-to-say from analysts (IDC in particular:  the Exploding Digital Universe papers, for example) many vendors felt locked out of the whole game.

Swiss-guy invited a professional debate over the facts, which Hollis, after a fashion, did provide, but not without significant encouragement in his comments section from both Howard DeepStorageNet and Kelly from GridStore.

Having occasionally incurred the wrath of EMC for my commentary, I am sensitive to these personal attack methods.  IMHO, you don’t win the hearts and minds of the blogosphere or the IT consumer simply by bullying anyone who nay says your products.  Certainly you do not attack pay-to-say when you buy more of it than anyone else.  And when it comes to prevarication, hype and bullshit in technology product discourse, probably shouldn’t point out the spec in the eye of your competitor while ignoring the log in your own.

I could list a bunch of BS products and strategies that EMC has championed over the years, but I’d rather not.  That would be like an ad hominem attack.

Go ahead, attack me now.  It’s okay.  I have a lot of hair to pull out, unlike the Swiss guy.

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Cloud Evangelists, I Want to Believe. Really.

by Administrator on April 24, 2014

Forrester just released a rosy outlook for clouds, estimating a $191 B market by 2020.  This is a “hypergrowth phase,” replacing “an exploratory phase” — whatever that means.  In any case, the news seems to have given the cloudies a huge…well, uplifted their spirits.

I wish I had the tendency toward confirmation bias that would make me cheer at this “news.”  I really want to believe.  Really.

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I want to believe that cloud computing is actually an improvement on traditional computing.   But where is the improvement in substantive areas like universal infrastructure management or comprehensive data management?

I want to believe that cloud computing will save money and enhance service levels.  In 2005, IDC said we were to see all that server virtualization and cloud stuff start paying dividends once the CAPEX spend ended in 2009.  We are still spending an awful lot of CAPEX to try to make this stuff work.

I want to believe that cloud computing decouples computing activity from the hardware or software hegemony of any vendor — that it is completely vendor agnostic.  Ask Cisco about SDN.  Or Big Switch.  Vendors will not go quietly into that good night of open computing without a fight.

I want to believe that cloud computing is at least as secure if not more secure than traditional computing.  But access is across a Public Network or WAN.  Can you say HeartBleed?  What about NSA?  Ask the DoD what happened when their contractor uploaded the specs to the new stealth fighter to the DoD cloud:  hint, there is no longer any reason to build the fighter because the other side has all the specs.

I want to believe that standards exist for all aspects of cloud computing so that interoperability of all the moving parts is guaranteed and inter-cloud migration and sharing is as effortless as swiping your finger across a gorilla glass representation of your distributed infrastructure while drinking a pina colada poolside at your favorite Florida resort. (What the heck, the pina colada will taste just as good without the cloud.)

I want to believe that cloud computing doesn’t depend on flimsy, powered-by-Jenga! x86 hypervisors to instantiate workload.  A mainframe is a cloud already and one app failing won’t cause the whole stack to fail.  Long live LPARs, PRISM, and 30 years of debugging. So where are all of the mainframe-based clouds?

I want to believe that clouds are not a race to the bottom in technology.  I know, some may argue that IT can’t get any worse.  But this Starbuckification of IT that some of the cloudies are seeking promises a brew that, like Starbucks, tastes like the coffee that has been cooking too long and is burned at the bottom of the pot.

I want to believe that cloud is not just a pretty wrapper placed around IT outsourcing that always accompanies foul economic weather.  Didn’t we see this during the Reagan Recession (Service Bureau Computing) or in the DotCom Debacle (ASP/SSP)?  I have been told that I am wrong about this by pretty bright folks, but it comes as little surprise that Clouds appeared just as the global economy went into meltdown in the Great Recession.

I want to believe all of the good stuff about clouds, dang it.  Somebody tell me how I get there without this approach…

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Noodling Over Next IT-SENSE Issue

by Administrator on April 23, 2014

We have now logged about 6000 visitors in the last 20 days to IT-SENSE.org.  Thank you to everyone who has visited thus far.  Now, I am trying to spin up my stuff for Issue Number 2, which will focus on the elephant in the room — the fact that we are parking a lot of unmanaged data on mostly unmanaged infrastructure.  Instead of dealing with the issue, which would be hard, instead we are trying to software-define/virtualize/cloud it out of existence.

This won’t work, IMHO.  Like gravity, lack of management is real.  As this ad idea suggests…

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Any vendors think they have a leg up on infrastructure management and/or data management?  If so, let’s talk.

 

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Last June, as I reported on this blog, I had part of my roof shredded by a tropical storm that hit my area in Tampa Bay, FL.  Water dripped onto my name brand storage rigs, which I had tested over the past year, and fried them.  But the rigs were virtualized with DataCore SANsymphony-V software and the data was being mirrored to other virtualized disks created from low cost JBOD and RAID enclosures from Star Tech…

52291740…the StarTech.com 4 Bay External Hard Drive Array RAID Tower eSATA USB 3.0 Enclosure…

…the and MediaSonic…

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…or to be specific, the Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 ProBox 4 Bay Hard Drive Enclosure with USB 3.0 & eSATA.

DataCore Software’s SANSymphony-V readily included this eSATA attached capacity into its storage pool together with iSCSI attached and FC-SAN storage.

In operation, I was replicating between expensive and cheap storage, providing very highly available infrastructure (active active in fact) and protecting my data elegantly and at a software-defined layer to use the silly nomenclature of the moment.

Bottom line:  the expensive storage kit failed, the cheap stuff carried the load.  While I am not telling you to do exactly what I did, I just want you to consider the point here:  in storage, disk is disk, controllers are controllers and cases are cases.  As long as I can aggregate capacity reliably and spread out the chewy goodness of value-add software, including thin provisioning, replication, mirroring, snapshotting, continuous data protection, etc. across an infinitely scalable cobble of disk (and flash), that makes all kinds of sense from the standpoint of affordable on-premise data protection.

I am thinking about adding LTFS to my DataCore Server so tape can play into my storage complex as well.

Thanks, Star Tech for your unit.  I bought the MediaSonic JBOD cases on the cheap from Newegg or Tiger Direct or something, together with a couple of Star Tech dual eSATA adapters.  Cool beans.

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My OOOgly Mug on DataCore Software Labs

April 23, 2014

Just before the holiday, DataCore Software aired on their new — and very cool — DataCore Software Labs website a digitally recorded opinion on Flash Technology.  Opinions, they say, are like elbows.  Everybody has a couple.  You can see mine in replay at their SITE, if you don’t mind looking at my ugly mug. Somebody could […]

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Data Protection at Edge 2014

April 22, 2014

Preamble:  The FTC requires that I disclose a fiduciary relationship with IBM in connection with Edge 2014.  I will be blogging from the show, both in text and video, and actively tweeting my thoughts about what I see and hear.  Apparently, anything I write about the show is considered compensated work, even though IBM does […]

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IBM Edge 2014 On The Radar

April 22, 2014

I am busily preparing for my week-long adventure at IBM Edge 2014 in Las Vegas.  I will be there from May 19 through May 23 mostly attending the show and hanging out at the Social Media Lounge, but also teaching a few sessions at Tech Edge. One thing I am keen to pursue is Big […]

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Spectra and CommVault Team Up

April 22, 2014

Announced today, tape (and capacity no frills disk) maker Spectra Logic is teaming up with data management/protection software maker, CommVault, to deliver cooperative solutions.  I see this as a potential big win for both companies and possibly a boost for object storage, which Spectra has pioneered in the archive space with last year’s Deep Storage/Black […]

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A Software-Defined Life (SDL)

April 4, 2014

Jon woke up this morning, groaning from a software-defined hangover (SDH), and slipped his feet into his software-defined slippers while pulling on his software-defined robe.  5:45AM.  Later than normal, he thought.  Poor Orchestration of his virtual resources pooled for ease of deployment.  Must talk to his virtual IT department using his software-defined network when the […]

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While We’re At It

April 3, 2014

On April 8, IBM will be livestreaming its Mainframe 50th Anniversary event that you don’t want to miss.  The mainframe hit corporate world in 1964 and changed everything.  I met my first one in 1980-ish and fell in love.  Frankly, all of the cloud stuff and the virtualization woo that I read and see today […]

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