Do our customers want it?

ORIGINALLY POSTED 29th February 2008

10,116 views on developerworks

I’m glad that BarryB is finding things amusing, while at least there is some humour there, I find it amusing how much time he spends advertising IBM products. Out of his last 6 posts 3 have been about IBM, in particular DS6000 and DS8000. I think we get your message BarryB, you *think* these products are dead. We know they are not, its against IBM’s policy to pre-announce actual features otherwise I could tell you of all the things that are coming this year, but then I’d be shot.

I wanted to pick up on a couple of point that were extrapolated by BarryB. First of all I understand this interview to have happened several months ago, with a few recent questions tagged on after our announcements earlier this month. That said, I myself don’t see the link between SSD and Tape… Well I think I can see what was being suggested, there is nothing better than proper HSM, i.e. keeping the Tier1 data to minimum and moving older stale data to tape or MAID type products. However, this may have not come across very clearly in the small quotation extracted.

The key point about features and functions is what business need is there for them. Are your customers asking for them, or are you simply following the crowd because vendor X has done it. That said, most vendors do follow the crowd, as usually there is a high demand for feature X or function Y. Again, I’m assuming, but I guess what Charlie was saying is that he himself hadn’t heard of customers asking for certain functions. For example, the enhancements to copy service functions in DS8000 and SVC recently were prioritised over DS8000 direct SATA attachment for example (FATA has been available for several years). For example, once you have SATA you need RAID-6 so these two things go hand in hand. The business case for the enhanced copy services was greater than any requests for other functions, so these were prioritised over other things. So just because EMC has feature Z doesn’t mean we have to – unless a large percentage of our customer base is requesting them.

As for Solid State Disks, well, I think you all know my stance on them, if you’ve been following this blog for some time you will know I played with some last year and wrote up my thoughts, but as for what IBM itself is looking at I’ll leave that to Storage VP Andy Monshaw in an interview posted yesterday on Information Week. The key thing is that its not just about bunging a few of these in an existing box and leaving it there, its the whole she-bang; controller, software stack and application that needs integrating… Over at RupturedMonkey Nigel is asking if EMC will go down in history as a game changer on this one, I’d contest this and suggest that accolade will go to the first vendor(s) to truly offer up the entire potential that these new breed of disks can provide. That means really eliminating the wear out, using the cheapest and highest density Flash devices while maintaining reliability. Most important of all is the integration of the entire stack from the applications down to the raw zeros and ones… Can a specialist storage only (sorry Information Infrastructure) company do that on their own… no… the first will probably be one of Tony’s one stop IT supermarkets…

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