Saturday, August 11, 2012

Barriers to storage as a service

So Monday I'm off to visit my good friends at UMASS medical to chat with my other good pals and colleagues in the MGHPCC about possible shared storage models. I was also speaking with the CIO of Boston University on Friday, and she and I were both wondering what levels could one potentially share storage infrastructure between schools. Even more importantly, once you have done that, then could you ever seamlessly share data and files between schools? We knew it was probably going to look something like an OSI model - most things in IT do end up that way ;-)

Anyway, I said I'd put a slide together at least to start our conversations. I've been wrestling with shared storage for years in my various day jobs. What to share? How to share it? Who to share it with? The list goes on and on.

As I was putting this slide together it finally hit me!

The reason for my astonishment and enlightenment today?

Simple - it's all about BARRIERS!!

Barriers get in the way of everything. They cause misery, confusion and blame. They are always put in place to stop people from doing things. The more barriers the more control, the less freedom. What is academic data sharing all about? You got it sherlock! It is all about freedom! Freedom to explore, freedom to grow, freedom to push against barriers.

So there you have it, this post is basically stating the blindingly obvious!

"barriers get in the way of academic data sharing and freedom"

You see, each barrier you have to cross does make the challenge harder and harder to support science and discovery. Not all barriers are technology problems either, actually very few are. I see them more like activation energy once you get over the hump, the energy you need is lower, and quality ought to be higher... challenge is finding the right catalyst(*) ;-))

Here's the chart anyway, I think it came out rather well:



(*)folks in our IT shops have often called me out as a "catalyst" - not sure they always mean it in a "good way" though... hehe.



[any opinions here are all mine, and have absolutely nothing to do with my employer]
(c) 2011 James Cuff