Michael and Tony Sittin’ In A Tree…

I suppose it will be announced soon enough.  Tony Asaro, formerly at ESG, is probably becoming Dell’s Storage Mucky-Muck. 

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. 

The possibilities of this joining have been bloggable since November, when Josiah Cole talked about his buddy, Tony, getting a PERSONAL call from Mr. Dell himself.  Cole said that if Asaro took the job he was being offered at Dell, he could retire in 5 years.

I’m not so sure about that, not in the 2008 economy at least.  Dell will have a lot of catching up to do with the markets if Tony is to be able to parachute out in such short order.

To be honest, Asaro has yet to prove to me that he is anything but a cheerleader.  His blog on EqualLogic’s acquisition by Dell was fluff.  The EqualLogic buy, he said, was a sign that iSCSI was catching on in a big way.  Hmm.  Sounded to me like pure “feel good” foo custom written for the Dell guys.  He also offered some go-along-with-the-flow pap about VMware becoming the datacenter OS, which also kind of works with Dell’s “we’ll sell anything folks are buying” model.

I had the sense that his boss, Steve-O, was pulling his choke chain when he issued the follow up blog where asserting that he did not mean to diss the other iSCSI vendors (who routinely pay ESG for a positive review) by his positive report on Dell/EqualLogic.  He as much as said that he was writing the second blog in order to reassure a reader that EqualLogic was not the only, or even the best, iSCSI play in town.  Nifty piece of back-pedalling.

I guess my point is that Dell will not dominate SMB by buying EqualLogic to complement its sales of low end, overpriced, underperforming EMC crappolla.  They also won’t improve their position by fronting their feeble storage efforts with a yes-man.

What Michael should have done was to build a microfactory around storage like the one he built around servers.  Years ago, such an effort might have taken the world of storage by storm:  commoditizing the array and enabling consumers to custom build the boxes they needed to support their applications while maintaining some sort of coherent manageability.  I suspect that this is beyond Dell’s capability now.  If they were serious about disruption, they probably wouldn’t have bought EqualLogic or, as it now appears likely, put Asaro in the role of the faceman for their storage advance.

Meanwhile, I find encouraging both IBM’s XIV play and HP’s Building Block Storage rhetoric, which, while strictly marketecture, could be a harbinger of a new evolution of storage and the proper and long awaited commoditization of the array. 

We are also still waiting to see what Xiotech does with Seagate’s Advanced Storage group, especially the ultracool stuff dreamed up by Siccola, the Lary’s and the rest of the Bent Fin Boomer Boys. 

Strange as it sounds, I am starting to think of iSCSI as a legacy interconnect.  UDP will bury it in time, or iWARP will.

If things work out, Tony will look good in Dell colors.  He seems to be an affable guy.  We wish him well, especially as he gives to Dell all of the insider knowledge gleaned as a trusted consultant for the industry’s very own Gartner wannabe, ESG.

5 Responses to “Michael and Tony Sittin’ In A Tree…”

  1. jhutchins says:

    Spot on Jon… except his last name is “Asaro” not “Ansaro”.

    Food for thought: How much influence do you think Asaro had in ginning up the Dell/Equallogic deal?

    How pissed is Steve D that one of his most visable analysts was pumping up the deal and then left to go work for them? Apparently ESG doesn’t have a problem with conflicts of interest.

    How pissed do you think the other iSCSI vendors are?

    Bottom line: Asaro threw ESG and Steve D under the bus hard with this move. Asaro is a very nice guy personally, but this was a move that took some balls (and a few knives in the back).

    ESG gets a black eye because vendors really can’t trust them. End-users have never known who ESG was so this won’t have an impact on them.

  2. Thanks for the spell correction.

    Can’t comment on the goings on inside ESG. Out of my depth there. Seems to me though that when you are in the business of “recontextualizing” the truth to serve your clients, you are building a culture of ethical “flexibility” from top to bottom. If I were running such an outfit, it would come as no surprise when my “trusted” folks leave to seek more lucrative work with my clients.

    Howie Goldstein sent me a couple of books not long ago about the so-called “integrity advantage” — a principle I adhere to religiously. We recently performed a bunch of tests on behalf of a vendor whose stuff we could not make work as advertised to save our lives. Rather than move forward with the project, publish a bogus report, etc., we cancelled the deal and ate the costs that we had incurred in doing all the testing and break/fix. I would rather do that than to publish bogus results requested by the vendor who commissioned the work. My NAME is on the report and that is all I have.

  3. jhutchins says:

    Let me ask you this, Jon: If MD called you to offer you a job as the storage guru of Dell, would you take it?

  4. Nope. I doubt I could transition back to corporate, having left it years ago for self-employment.

    If it came down to putting food on the table for my wife and six kids, I would do whatever I had to do — laying bricks, whatever. But, as a rule, I find large organizations to be stifling. I really believe that all of the innovative invention and thinking in the business comes from start-ups, not entrenched companies. Plus, I have serious doubts about the 20 Year Man thing — it is a myth.

    I would rather sink or swim based on my own abilities. And I also encourage that ethic in those who work with me. I have no employees. My lab guys own their lab. My partners are LLCs like me.

  5. Pq65 says:

    Michael and Tony are no longer sittin’ in a Tree. Looks like Tony fell off the Tree… Rumor is Tony Asaro has departed from Dell.

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