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This is a follow-up to a recent post about modernizing data protection and doing more than simply swapping out media or mediums like flat tires on a car as well as part of the Quantum protecting data with certainty event series.


As part of a recent 15 city event series sponsored by Quantum (that was a disclosure btw ;) ) titled Virtualization, Cloud and the New Realities for Data Protection that had a theme of strategies and technologies that will help you adapt to a changing IT environment I was asked to present a keynote at the events around Modernizing data protection for cloud, virtual and legacy environments (see earlier and related posts here and here).


Quantum data protection with certainty


Since late June (taking July and most of August off) and wrapping up last week, the event series has traveled to Boston, Chicago, Palo Alto, Houston, New York City, Cleveland, Raleigh, Atlanta, Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, Mohegan Sun CT, St. Louis, Portland Oregon and King of Prussia (Philadelphia area).


The following are a series of posts via IT Knowledge Exchange (ITKE) that covered these events including commentary and perspectives from myself and others.


Data protection in the cloud, summary of the events
Practical solutions for data protection challenges
Big data's new and old realities
Can you afford to gamble on data protection
Conversations in and around modernizing data protection
Can you afford not to use cloud based data protection

In addition to the themes in the above links, here are some more images, thoughts and perspectives from while being out and about at these and other events.


Datalink does your data center suck sign

While I was traveling saw this advertisement sign from Datalink (who is a Quantum partner that participated in some of the events) in a few different airports which is a variation of the Datadomain tape sucks attention getter. For those not familiar, that creature on the right is an oversized mosquito with the company logos on the lower left being Datalink, NetApp, Cisco and VMware.


goddess of data fertility

When in Atlanta for one of the events at the Morton's in the Sun trust plaza, the above sculpture was in the lobby. Its real title is the goddess of fertility, however I'm going to refer to it as the goddess of data fertility, after all, there is no such thing as a data or information recession.



The world and storageio runs on dunkin donuts

Traveling while out and about is like a lot of things particular IT and data infrastructure related which is hurry up and wait. Not only does America Run on Dunkin, so to does StorageIO.


Use your imagination

When out and about, sometimes instead of looking up, or around, take a moment and look down and see what is under your feet, then let your imagination go for a moment about what it means. Ok, nuff of that, drink your coffee and let's get back to things shall we.


Delta 757 and PW2037 or PW2040

Just like virtualization and clouds, airplanes need physical engines to power them which have to be energy-efficient and effective. This means being very reliable, good performance, fuel-efficient (e.g. a 757 on a 1,500 mile trip if full can be in the neighborhood of 65 plus miles per gallon per passenger with a low latency (e.g. fast trip). In this case, a Pratt and Whitney PW2037 (could be a PW2040 as Delta has a few of them) on a Delta 757 is seen powering this flight as it climbs out of LAX on a Friday morning after one of the event series session the evening before in LA.


Ambulance waiting at casino

Not sure what to make out of this image, however it was taken while walking into the Mohegan Sun casino where we did one of the dinner events at the Michael Jordan restaraunt.


David Chapa of Quantum in bank vault

Here is an image from one of the events in this series which is a restaurant in Cleveland where the vault is a dinning room. No that is not a banker, well perhaps a data protection banker, it is the one and only (@davidchapa) David Chapa aka the Chief Technology Evangelist (CTE) of Quantum, check out his blog here.


Just before landing in portland

Nice view just before landing in Portland Oregon where that evenings topic was as you might have guessed, data protection modernization, clouds and virtualization. Don’t be scared, be ready, learn and find concerns to overcome them to have certainty with data protection in cloud, virtual and physical environments.


Cloud, virtualization and data protection modernization is a shared responsibility requiring team work and cooperation between service or solution provider and the user or consumer. If the customer or consumer of a service is using the right tools, technologies, best practices and having had done their homework for applicable levels of services with SLAs and SLOs, then a service provider with good capabilities should be in harmony with each other. Of course having the right technologies and tools for the task at hand is also important.

Underground hallway connecting LAX terminals, path to the clouds

Moving your data to the cloud or a virtualized environment should not feel like a walk down a long hallway, that is assuming you have done your homework, that the service is safe and secure, well taken care of, there should be less of concerns. Now if that is a dark, dirty, dingy, dilapidated dungeon like hallway, then you just might be on the highway to hell vs. stairway to heaven or clouds ;).


clouds along california coastline

There continues to be barriers to cloud adoption and deployment for data protection among other users.


Unlike the mountain ranges inland from the LA area coastline causing a barrier for the marine layer clouds rolling further inland, many IT related barriers can be overcome. The key to overcoming cloud concerns and barriers is identifying and understanding what they are so that resolutions, solutions, best practices, tools or work around's can be developed or put into place.


The world and storageio runs on dunkin donuts

Hmm, breakfast of champions and road warriors, Dunkin Donuts aka DD, not to be confused with DDUP the former ticker symbol of Datadomain.


Tiered coffee

In the spirit of not treating everything the same, have different technology or tools to meet various needs or requirements, it only makes sense that there are various hot beverage options including hot water for tea, regular and decaffeinated coffee. Hmm, tiered hot beverages?

On the lighter side, things including technology of all type will and do break, even with maintenance, so having a standby plan, or support service to call can come in handy. In this case the vehicle on the right did not hit the garage door that came off of its tracks due to wear and tear as I was preparing to leave for one of the data protection events. Note to self, consider going from bi-annual garage door preventive maintenance to annual service check-up.


Some salesman talking on phone in a quiet zone


While not part of or pertaining to data protection, clouds, virtualization, storage or data infrastructure topics, the above photo was taken while in a quiet section of an airport lounge waiting for a flight to one of the events. This falls in the class of a picture is worth a thousand words category as the sign just to the left of the sales person talking loudly on his cell phone about his big successful customer call says Quiet Zone with symbol of no cell phone conversations.


How do I know the guy was not talking about clouds, virtualization, data infrastructure or storage related topics? Simple, his conversation was so loud me and everybody else in the lounge could hear the details of the customer conversation as it was being relayed back to sales management.


Note to those involved in sales or customer related topics, be careful of your conversations in public and pseudo public places including airports, airport lounges, airplanes, trains, planes, hotel lobbies and other places, you never know who you will be broadcasting to.


Here is a link to a summary of the events along with common questions, thoughts and perspectives.


Quantum data protection with certainty


Thanks to everyone who participated in the events including attendees, as well as Quantum and their partners for sponsoring this event series, look forward to see you while out and about at some future event or venue.


Ok, nuff said.


Cheers Gs

Here is an interesting article from over at wired about proposed privacy law and court warrants for cloud data, along with this one over at information week. Both got me thinking about some things that I hear when out and about talking with IT professionals and their concerns around clouds.


StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data


Common themes at the recent modernizing data protection and new realities of cloud and virtualization event series that I was involved with pertained to cloud concerns. Some organizations are already using clouds to some degree while others are taking a cautious approach. Some are all in, while others will take longer for various reasons. Likewise some are using a mix of public, private and hybrid to compliment their environments for collaboration, shared storage, compute, content distribution, backup, archive or BC and DR among other things. These environments range from SOHO or small SMB to ROBO to workgroup to enterprise, education and government of various size.


Often the conversations would evolve around gaining confidence with clouds as well as virtualization. In the case of clouds, given that some of the services as well as products, solutions or technologies are still young, there is still a learning and maturing curve. There are also other factors including the amount of hype and FUD around clouds has some people more skeptical or cautious to move forward. Granted there are also the true cynics which tend to be offset by the cloud crowd cheerleaders thus canceling each other out.


For the non cheerleaders and non cynics, hurdles to cloud adoption (in whole or in part, public, private or hybrid) tend to start with the letter C.


My message has and continues to be that of do not be scared of clouds and virtualization, however be ready, informed and decide what your concerns are. By determining your concerns, you can then work on figuring out what to do about those.


Here is a list of common cloud concerns and comments that I hear:
Cloud cheerleader hype
Cloud critics and cynics FUD
Confidence in cloud products or services
Certainty in cloud data protection or security
Cloud certifications and standards
Compatibility and interoperability
Classes and continuing education
Confidentially, privacy and security
Costs of cloud services or products
Country where cloud data is stored


There are many other items that can be added to the list that start with the letter C, however there are also some that start with P. For example, People, Products, Process, Procedures, Practices, Paradigm, Public or Private and Protocols among others.


Its one thing to be scared of something and not know what or why you are scared. It's another thing to know or figure out what or why you are scared or concerned and then be able to do something about it. For example learn what standards such as SNIA CDMI among others exist and how those could be of help along with other tools or best practices from others.


Thus don’t be scared of clouds or virtualization, however do your homework, decide your concerns and then find what can be done about those. If you need help, drop me a note.


In the meantime, here is some more material:
Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking
More modernizing data protection, virtualization and clouds with certainty
Cloud conversations: AWS Government Cloud (GovCloud)
Amazon cloud storage options enhanced with Glacier
Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) publishes two new cloud usage models
Data protection modernization, more than swapping out media
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the NetFlix Fix?
What do VARs and Clouds as well as MSPs have in common?
Only you can prevent cloud data loss
The blame game: Does cloud storage result in data loss?
Cloud conversations: Loss of data access vs. data loss
Clouds are like Electricity: Dont be Scared
Poll: What Do You Think of IT Clouds?



Ok, nuff said for now.


Cheers Gs

StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data

While at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco and walking around the expo floor, something familiar was taking place.


Sure, there were the vendors trying to outdo themselves with give away, magicians and other techniques to draw you into their booths or show areas.


What I also saw and heard were plenty of sales and marketing pitches that seemed more focus on selling and closing a demo, vs. selling the company or product, let alone trying to show a reason for wanting to learn more about the company.


Granted, for some people a good demo is all that is needed to become comfortable with the company or products.


On the other hand, it is nice to have a quick conversation to set up a follow-up to learn more and dig deeper.


What I find interesting is how many organizations are more focused on trying to close on the demo than to spend a minute or two in a quick conversation that could go a lot further. This can be a challenge when somebody asks me about a company or product and my impressions of it. For example, if a vendor is to focused on selling and closing on the GUI demo, when asked I sometimes after to say that company xyz has a great demo, beyond that not much else to recommend at this time. Now if the goal of the company is to sell the demo, then that is what they should be closing on.


On the other hand, if the goal of the company is to sell and close on products, then the demo is just one of many means to the goal as opposed to a singular focus.


Is it just the booth or show crews who are under instructions from the marketing or event staffs who are supposed to be focused? Nope, sales and marketing types, engineers or technical types and even CEOs. In fact, at VMworld I meet a few CEOs or other CxOs who were focused on either closing on their demos, or simply using the demo as an excuse to handoff and be able to go talk to somebody else. Funny thing is that some of those same CxO types complain directly or via their surrogates when they do not get the coverage they wanted or expected for their product, service or company.


StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data


Having spent more years than I care to remember at shows and conference events, both as a customer attendee, as a vendor exhibitor, and as an analyst, consult, lets keep in focus the value of time at events. This means realizing that shows or conferences typically mean speed dating or very short windows of opportunities to interact, for both the exhibitors and attendees.


Thus, make the best use of available time. If you are the attendee, tell the exhibitor what you are interested in or need to learn more about. Likewise if you are the exhibitor, do some basic triage and quickly determine what the attendee is looking for, whom they need to talk to, or follow-up with.


This prompts the question(s) of do you make product and services decisions based off G2 (intelligence, information, insight, awareness) or GQ (looks, packaging appeal, style, trendy and hip, how it demos or shows)?


Are you buying a product, service or technology based on likability, popularity, cost, peer pressure, or something else?


Do you buy because of the demo or of its functionality?


Do you buy because of cost or price, or business benefit?


Do you buy because of a vendor, partner or sales person, or because of it?


Do you place more emphasis on looks, appearance or GQ factor including packaging, presentation, images and style?


Alternatively, do you place emphasis on G2 including insight, intelligence, knowledge, comfort and understanding of solution?


As with many things, my assumption that the answer to the above questions is it depends.


Ok, nuff said for now.


Cheers Gs

My how time flies, seems like just yesterday (back in 2008) that I did a piece titled Politics and Storage, or, storage in an election year V2.008 and if you are not aware, it is 2012 and thus an election year in the U.S. as well as in many other parts of the world. Being an election year it's not just about politicians, their supporters, pundits, surrogates, donors and voters, it's also a technology decision-making and acquisition year (as are most years) for many environments.


DNC logo and uncle sam want you for cloud virtualization and data storage networkingRNC logo


Similar to politics, some technology decisions will be major while others will be minor or renewals so to speak. Major decisions will evolve around strategies, architectures, visions, implementation plans and technology selections including products, protocols, processes, people, vendors or suppliers and services for traditional, virtual and cloud data infrastructure environments.


2012 world elections and technology decisions


Vendors, suppliers, service providers and their associated industry forums or alliances and trade groups are in various sales and marketing awareness campaigns. These various campaigns will decide who will be chosen by their customers or prospects for technology acquisitions ranging from hardware, software and services including servers, storage, IO and networking, desktops, power, cooling, facilities, management tools, virtualization and cloud products and services along with related items.


The politics of data infrastructures including servers, storage, networking, hardware, software and services spanning physical, cloud and virtual environments has similarities to other political races. These include many organizations in the form of inter departmental rivalry over budgets or funding, service levels, decision-making, turf wars and technology ownership not to mention the usual vendor vs. vendor, VAR vs. VAR, service provider vs. service provider or other match ups.


On the other hand, data and storage are also being used to support political campaigns in many ways across physical, virtual and cloud deployment scenarios.


StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data


Let us not forget about the conventions or what are more commonly known as shows, conferences, user group events in the IT world. For example EMCworld earlier this year, Dell Storage Forum, or the recent VMworld (or click here to view video from past VMworld party with INXS), Oracle Open World along with many vendor analyst, partner, press and media or blogger days.


Here are some 2012 politics of data infrastructure and storage campaign match-ups:


Speaking of networks vs. server and storage or software and convergence, how about Brocade vs. Cisco, Qlogic vs. Emulex, Broadcom vs. Mellanox, Juniper vs. HP and Dell (Force10) or Arista vs. others in the race for SAN LAN MAN WAN POTS and PANs.


Then there are the claims, counter claims, pundits, media, bloggers, trade groups or lobbyist, marketing alliance or pacs, paid for ads and posts, tweets and videos along with supporting metrics for traditional and social media.


Lets also not forget about polls, and more polls.


Certainly, there are vendors vs. vendors relying on their campaign teams (sales, marketing, engineering, financing and external surrogates) similar to what you would find with a politician, of course scope, size and complexity would vary.


Surrogates include analyst, bloggers, consultants, business partners, community organizers, editors, VARs, influencers, press, public relations and publications among others. Some claim to be objective and free of vendor influence while leveraging simple to complex schemes for renumeration (e.g. getting paid) while others simply state what they are doing and with whom.


Likewise, some point fingers at others who are misbehaving while deflecting away from what they are actually doing. Hmm, sounds like the pundit or surrogate two-step (as opposed to the Potomac two step) and prompts the question of who is checking the fact checkers and making disclosures (disclosure: this piece is being sponsored by StorageIO )?


StorageIO industry trends cloud, virtualization and big data


What this all means?


Use your brain, use your eyes and ears, and use your nose all of which have dual paths to your senses.


In other words, if something sounds or looks too good to be true, it probably isn't.


Likewise if something smells funny or does not feel right to your senses or common sense, it probably is not or at least requires a closer look or analysis.


Be an informed decision maker balancing needs vs. wants to make effective selections regardless of if for a major or minor item, technology, trend, product, process, protocol or service. Informed decisions also mean looking at both current and evolving or future trends, challenges and needs which for data infrastructures including servers, storage, networking, IO fabrics, cloud and virtualization means factoring in changing data and information life cycles and access or usage patterns. After all, while there are tough economic times on a global basis, there is no such thing as a data or information recession.


StorageIO and uncle sam want you for cloud virtualization and data storage networking


This also means gaining insight and awareness of issues and challenges, plus balancing awareness and knowledge (G2) vs. looks, appearances and campaign sales pitches (GQ) for your particular environment, priorities and preferences.


Keep in mind and in the spirit of legendary Chicago style voting, when it comes to storage and data infrastructure topics, technologies and decisions, spend early, spend often and spend for those who cannot to keep the vendors and their ecosystem of partners happy.


Note that this post is neither supported, influenced, endorsed or paid for by any vendors, VARs, service providers, trade groups, political action committees or Picture Archive Communication system (e.g. PACs), both of which deal with and in big data along with industry consortiums, their partners, customers or surrogates and neither would they probably approve of it anyway's.


With that being said, I am Greg Schulz of StorageIO and am not running for or from anything this year and I do endorse the above post ;).


Ok, nuff said for now


Cheers gs

I'm always interested when I hear or read a software vendor or their value added reseller (VAR) or business partner claim that their solution eliminates vendor lock-in.


More often than not, I end up being amazed if not amused over the claims which usually should be rephrased as eliminating hardware vendor lock-in.

Cops plus supples

What is also amazing or amusing is that while some vendors make claims of eliminating (hardware) vendor lock-in, there is also some misdirection taking place. While some solutions may be architected to cut hardware vendor lock-in, how they are sold or packaged can force certain vendors technology into your solution. For example, the EMC Centera software in theory and architecture is hardware vendor independent, however it is sold as a solution (hardware and software), similar to how Dell sells the DX which uses software from Caringo and you guessed right, Dell hardware among many other similar scenarios from other vendors.


How about virtualization or other abstraction software tools along with cloud, object storage, clustered file systems and related tools.

StorageIO industry trends and perspectives, I/O, clouds, virtualization

Keep in mind the gold rule of management software and tools which includes virtualization, cloud stacks, clustered file systems among other similar tools. The golden rule is simply who ever controls the software and management controls the gold (e.g. your budget). In the case of a storage software tools such as virtualization, cloud or object storage, cluster or NAS system among others, while they can be correct depending on how packaged and sold of eliminating hardware vendor lock-in, the lock-in also moves.


The lock-in moves from the hardware to the software which even though a particular solution may be architected to use industry standard components, often to make it easy for acquisition, a vendor packages the solution with hardware. In other words, sure, the vendor unlocked you from one vendors hardware with their software only to lock you into theirs or somebody else's.


Now granted, it may not be a hard lock (pun intended), rather a soft marketing and deployment packaging decision. However there are some solutions that give themselves or at least via their marketing on hardware independence only to force you into buying their tin wrapped software (e.g. an appliance) with their choice of disk drives, network components and other items.


So when a software or solution vendor claims to cut vendor lock-in, ask them if that is hardware vendor lock-in and if they are moving or shifting the point of vendor lock-in. Keep in mind that vendor lock-in does not have to be a bad thing if it provides you the customer with value. Also keep in mind that only you can prevent vendor lock-in which is like only you can prevent cloud data loss (actually its a shared responsibility ;) ).


Here is my point, so what if a vendor chooses to wrap their software with an appliance to make it easy for you to buy and deploy, however unless they are willing to work with you on what hardware that will be, perhaps they should think about going a bit easier on the vendor lock-in theme.

Cops plus supples

In the quest to race from hardware vendor lock-in, be aware with ears and eyes wide open to make sure that you are not fleeing from one point of lock-in to another. In other words, make sure that the cure to your vendor lock-in challenge is not going to be more painful than your current ailment.


What is your take on vendor lockin? Cast your vote and see results in the following polls.


        Click here to vote is vendor lock-in a good or bad thing?

        Click here to vote who is responsible for managing vendor lock-in?

        Click here to vote Where is most common form or concern of vendor lock-in?


Ok, nuff said for now.


Cheers Gs