Thursday, February 5, 2015

Please, purchase my storage solution....

CUE: Story opens, In a small office at a research computing department:

Endearing Storage Vendor: ".... so, now you have seen our technology, you will want to purchase our one of a kind "storage solution" you will be inordinately happy and immediately absolved of any and all future storage issues... forever. We guarantee it! We would truly love to partner with you, we have a unique, one of a kind system. Once we install your system, you can basically take two weeks off, but also in the meantime we will arrange to get your hair to grow back, and I will buy you many beautiful steak dinners... you are feeling very sleepy... but very satisfied with your decision to partner with us, it is a one of a kind product, did I tell you that our CTO invented....."

(beautiful harp music plays in the background)

Research Computing Director [Dreaming] : Oh wow, this stuff sounds absolutely fantastic, I bet I could finally sleep at night, the milk would never spill or go sour anymore. Life would finally be full of unicorns and rainbows! I so much want to live in this fantastic land of flawless storage, unlimited capacity, endless feature sets, complete 100.1% reliability and uptime, oh it's going to be so utterly awesome. In this world storage never, ever goes bad. Hold that thought I NEED to live in this world!! I MUST buy this storage array... I have to raise a PO!....

Endearing Storage Vendor: When I click my fingers you will awake, refreshed and ready to place your purchase order... 3..... 2...... 1.....

[Click] (director wide awake)

Research Computing Director [Sweating]: Whoah! What! Hang on! Wait Nooooo!!

CUE: Fade to black...


So, all joking aside I've been doing this job, and jobs much like it for years. I actually do know the exact storage system it is that exists in this dream from our little story above. And, well so given we are all friends here I'll take a moment to share the answer with you, let's keep it our little secret though, we should not let this trade secret get out.

Ok, so are you ready? Ok, so it's this one:

Not a single one of them!

Yep - you heard right folks, not a single one. I know I'm like a total heretic right?

You've probably all heard the endearing storage vendor promises... I have them in the archive, somewhere, let me go dig them out for you...


CUE: The clip of "The top 50 Most Endearing Storage Vendor Quotes":

"The competition are light years behind our technology! They are slower, more expensive, and totally unreliable, I mean they basically have NO clue! Our CTO literally invented the binary system!"

"That custom Linux kernel you hand rolled may be clever, but it does not scale. Our custom fork of Plan9 we use to power our ARM powered ASICS - it's quite literally lightyears ahead of the competition"

"Here, how about this... you can try our storage for no cost. I'll ask my manager so you can have a little bit for free - don't worry, we can talk price after your first petabyte migration"

"We vet every single patch upgrade before we release to our customers - rolling upgrades from any point release result in zero downtime"

"This storage will basically NEVER fail - people like Harva... oops sorry I can't disclose our clients, but they think it's totally wonderful, I can set up a call with Dr. X, he will totally vouch for how awesome we are."

"Let's not talk price just yet, let me show you how we use quantum laser effects to increase our redundancy and reliability"

"The next version has a completely redesigned API and REST interface, oh and it will be a seamless data in place update - don't worry"

"I want to take a little time to explain to you about our differential value"

"Let me take a moment to explain how we use a stronger steel frame for our cabinets, it is a key differentiator"

"The drives have a perpetual motion device as bearings, you can basically think of them as "physical flash drives"

"We run one of the two top advanced storage manufacturing plants located south of Basildon"

"Our disk magnets are sourced from an ancient salt mine just south of Las Vegas"

"We are in one of the top one worldwide soda manufacturers, we would tell you but we keep our clients confidential"

"We are unique in the market place. Our product is one of a kind. You need to understand our differential value. Let me set up a call with our CTO, so he can explain how this works at a deep technical level. Did we tell you our CTO invented the binary system?"

"You guys shouldn't waste your time building your own storage. We have an end to end solution for you."

"Putting all your storage under our single name space with our amazing technology will just make everything easier."

"Did I tell you already that our CTO invented the binary system?"

"Would you mind if I called some of your Faculty directly so I can show them our value? I don't want to go over your head or anything, but I really need to show them the value of our system, so they can see why you should buy this system."

"... and this was when our founders invented magnetism"

"Great question! Cluster quorum is maintained by a remote software as a service cloud"

"Our storage array was certified by the TSA, and is in use at 5 of the national airlines that fly out of Canada, we could tell you be we want to keep our clients confidential"

"Through our technology we have effectively achieved 200 nines of reliability, and 800 days of uptime a year"

"We have essentially redesigned how RAID works, let us show you the following algebra..."

"It is essentially a software defined storage stack written into a dedicated FPGA so it's very flexible..."

"You basically don't need backups any more!"

"Great question! I'll circle back with engineering and get right back to you - Steve be sure to take a note on that - great question!"

"I'll skip over these marketing slides so we can do a deep dive on our technology... oh just one thing while we are here, we do as you can see from this slide sell to all of your competitors, but anyway, let's get to the technology, oh and this customer here purchased 500 petabytes, ok moving on..."

"We call this feature RAID ONE MILLION. Yeah I know right? It really is literally that good."

"Cache coherence is on our roadmap"

"Hey let's get a round table with your engineering team. I'll bring our top people in so we can show your team our differential value, once your engineers see this they will be ready to convince you to purchase this storage."

"Great question! File locking is absolutely due for the next release"


Oh and the best ever...?

"This product literally pays for itself!"

So... I dunno about you, but unless this disk array prints twenty freaking dollar bills, that thing ain't paying for anything, least of all itself!

So as I said, it's been my day job to be "sold" to for a number of years now. I've quite possibly heard them all. They also say the easiest thing in the world is to sell a sales man, and I've been told that I'm a bit of a sales man, or at least I've been seen to play one on the T.V...

Even so...

I'M SORRY ENDEARING STORAGE VENDOR, I JUST AIN'T BUYING IT!

:-)

p.s. I shall never, ever disclose my sources of "ESV" tee hee :-)



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