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SPACRC (pronounced SPARK)
UK
Enterprise Storage Specialist
Interests: IT Industry, DIY, Scuba Diving
Recent Activity
SPACRC (pronounced SPARK) is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
Martin Happy New Year to you and everyone in the storage industry. Sorry for not reading your blog recently. Nothing personal, just a bit busy with the new job. I 100% agree with your comments. I am still frustrated by customers and some people who work for vendors who shy away or are totally negative to features such as thin provisioning. As you say many vendors have now delivered the hardware and functionality that is required to enable storage to be more efficient but it requires the customers to have a desire to implement the new hardware and functionality, and requires the vendors to encourage this and deliver software that aids in this. And it is always good to see the marketing people at various vendors claiming a feature or hardware design is bad or unnecessary, only for said vendor to then deliver it 6 or 12 months later. I learnt from an early age, don't be negative about a competitive feature. Keep the posts going. They are always interesting. And I will hopefully find some time to do a few posts myself.
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2010 on Happy New Year.. at Storagebod's Blog
Apologies for those of you who have been following my blog, for the delay in publishing Part 3. Part 4 is nearly complete and will be published soon. I have heard it said, and I am in general agreement, that Enterprise Flash Drives (EFD’s) are over engineered for the needs of the current generation on Enterprise Storage Arrays (ESA’s). EFD’s can be thought of as a Ferrari. A Ferrari is a great car, but it won’t get you to work in the rush hour traffic much quicker than a standard car. The point I am trying to make is that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2009 at SPACRC
Martin Sounds like you have an interesting business idea, but as you and Ian say, a complex puzzle to solve. I would say most of the bits of the puzzle exist, but it is working out how to put them together in a useable secure way, that is portable, flexible and can easily evolve as our currently poorly/undefined requirements evolve.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2009 on Information Haze at Storagebod's Blog
Martin I am total agreement with what you say with regards to customers getting stuck using vendor terms and locking themselves in or constraining their options and thinking. When at EMC, I used to try to get people to think in more generic terms. i.e Point in Time Copies, rather than BCV's, Clones or Snaps. And try to get people to look and thin beyond the initial percieved problem or requirement. However I do agree with Ian that business can can competitive advantage with IT infrastructure and even storage. Yes the window of opportunity can be small, which is why IT needs to move fast to enable this competitive advantage. Something which I know is not easy within many IT shops !
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2009 on What's your problem? at Storagebod's Blog
As you say car performance means different things to different people, and typically you have to compromise on mpg if you want a fast car. Similar compromises have to be made with storage. Often is cost v performance. I totally agree with your opinion re Flash SSD's forcing new controller designs. This is exactly where I am going with my blog, so I just need to get part 2 and 3 written. I am pleased we are in agreement on this !
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Marc For the record I don't have a Prius. You confirm my point that car analogies are not great. You state the performance of a Prius is abysmal. How do you define performance. By acceleration, max top speed or mpg. I will let Toyota argue there case, but I doubt their marketing dept would use the word abysmal to describe its performance. As you say using analogies is fun, and gets people thinking - well thats why I use them. These days storage is not all about speeds and feeds. Performance is just one factor, though an important one. I agree the car industry and the technology used is going to change signficantly in the next 20 years, and the storage industry even more dramatically I believe. I did a blog post earlier today regarding SSD's. This was part 1 of a multi part post. Flash memory is going to significantly change storage arrays over the next few years. We (the storage industry) are only just at the start of this journey.
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Marc I used to use car analogies when trying to differentiate Clariion and Symmetrix with EMC's Technical Consultants and Customers. I won't say what cars I used. For 3PAR I would perhaps consider the Toyota Prius, a Hybrid car with excellent fuel efficiency, leading the way in the industry, as an appropriate car analogy ? The problem I found with analogies is that you think of the positive aspects, and someone else (your competition) think of the negatives as Enrico points out.
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Martin Someone senior (who now blogs, and it was not Barry) at EMC told me nearly 10 years ago that tape was dead. My answer to them, having just joined EMC from STK, is that tape was not dead, and won't be for some time. I said the use of tape is going to continue to change, and move even further down the storage stack / pyramid. I believe tape still has a place, though more and more disk based solutions will replace traditional tape solutions, and as you rightly say the growing cloud options are further expanding the alternative to tape. From a personal perspective for several years, I have been using removalable disk drives to backup my home PC, and offsitting them to the mother-in-law ! But now I have just started to use Mozy, though I do need a faster broadband uplink. As you say Martin there are many factors that need to be understood, to determine the best BC/DR option(s), and I agree physical tape is becoming less and less part of BC/DR solutions. In my experience traditionally the cost of bandwidth, has been the biggest cost hurdle, though this continues to fall, along with the cost of disk storage, so making remote online backup solutions a viable cost effective solution for businesses, big and small, and with the cloud based solutions coming to market, customers need to consider these. Yes there are consideration, as with any solutions.
Toggle Commented Aug 11, 2009 on Tape No More at Storagebod's Blog
Martin Many thanks for your post highlighting my entrance to the blogosphere, and your kind words. I hope I can live up to your expectations. And the beers are on me, when I have found a job ! Cheers SPACRC
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2009 on Welcome to the Blogosphere at Storagebod's Blog
Stephen Many thanks for the welcome and comments. I am not trying to say Thin Provisioning will deliver nirvana for storage. I totally agree there is far more to driving up storage utilisation, but I believe it is a good start. And as you point out when a new array is purchased and provisioned initially its utilisation will appear much worse. However based on my real world experience with the STK Iceberg, and more recently with the EMC Symmetrix (and I would expect similar results with most other vendors storage arrays which support Thin Provisioning), it does drive up utilisation levels, as empty unallocated space is not reserved and is available in a pool to use by all. Perhaps I should blog some examples of my experience. Of course there is a risk from over provisioning, but I believe this risk is very low, provided the customer implementation is appropriate and adequate monitoring is in place. At Lloyds with the Icebergs, I typically ran them at an average 80%+ utilisation, and sometimes they peaked at 90% during busy periods such as end of month/year, but there was never an occasion where an Iceberg got close to 100% utilisation. And as I mentioned Lloyds acquired 18 Icebergs over a period of a couple of years. Basically when utilisation levels were getting to high a few more were installed. So yes the overall utilisation level dropped when the new Icebergs hit the floor, but as I say on average the utilisation level was approx 80%+. I know things are a little different in Open Systems land, but if all customers could get even to 60 or 70% then that is far better than they are doing now.
Suds (Paul) Many thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, and a good long one at that. I am not sure I if really provided an answer, to the question I posed. I was not trying to compare the mainframe space to the MS/Unix space, but rather question why it took so long for the established mainframe storage players to deliver Thin Provisioning to the open system space, given the STK delivered it for the mainframe, I would have expected this to have acted as a catalyst. And the financial and environmental impact this has had due to their slowness it bringing it to market. I totally agree the SMB/SME space has totally changed the game, and the likes of NetApp, EqualLogic (sorry did not mention them in the initial blog),3PAR, Compellent and others have driven innovation and EMC, HDS and IBM have had to play feature catch up, when in fact they could have innovated given their experience from the mid 90's. I am not sure how much truth there is in it, but I have heard it said that EMC were worried about the threat of from STK Iceberg in the early 90's. And you mention about Volume Re-thinning and space reclamation. These are the features I refer to by integration of Thin Provisoning with the O/S and File System, which will help the effective and successful deployment of Thin Provisioning, and act a a further catalyst to it become a defacto featue. Again many thanks for you comments and I look forward to further dialogue.
Thank you for the welcome to the storageblogsphere. Hopefully I can add another interesting perspective to the world of storage blogs. And thanks for the plug for my blog and my first post. I would not really call it the history of thin provisioning, but more a question on why did it take so long for the likes of EMC, HDS and IBM to deliver thin provisioning, and a high level summary of the impact this has had.
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2009 on The graph that Anarchist didn't show at StorageRap
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Marc I do love this 'war' of words and statistics. I do respect Barry. I used to work for EMC, and I have just started to blog. I posted my first yesterday about Thin Provisioning been 10 years late in ! You might want to read. Not quite sure what Barry's reaction to it, is going to be. As SRJ said yesterday in his comment on Barry's blog, Barry is the master of bluster and bravado. I would use the word spin, though I think in this case his spin has spun, and has been left out to dry. I would have expected a dip in any disk storage companies revenues for Q1 and Q2 of this year with the current world recession. Many customers just stopped buying primary storage, so I believe Just a Storage Guys comments on Barry's blog are misjudged. So well done on filling in the missing part of the graph, and putting a different spin on it.
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2009 on The graph that Anarchist didn't show at StorageRap
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