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HP Techday 2009: The Final Thoughts!

October 2nd, 2009 4 comments

This is my 5th consecutive post on HP TechDay in Colorado Springs.

HP Techday 2009 Updates

HP TechDay 2009 Day 0

HP TechDay 2009 Day 1

HP TechDay 2009 Day 2

Screen shot 2009-10-01 at 8.05.25 PM

HP facilities in Colorado Springs, a Satellite view

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Positives

This event was a very smart move by HP and as far as I can see they have exceeded their expectations with this event. It was truly a fireworks of hash tag #hptechday both Monday and Tuesday which dominated twitter. The after discussions have taken over the blogging, twitter and the Internet press by surprise with the number of twits, blogs and press articles written about this event.

Clearly for me this was a good platform to learn, understand and share some visions and technologies related to HP Storage products. An Event like this helps understand and connect the dots together with future products and emerging technologies.

The R&D and Engineering teams gave us a good background of the inter-workings of the storage technology not necessarily the intra-workings of all technologies messed together. There were some awkward moments, but overall they pulled it together really well. The marketing folks spoke about some strategy related to these technologies and painted an overall picture. The mix of people involved with the presentations and demos seem to accomplish the agenda, where marketing pitches came in with engineering details.

HP really left competition out of all the discussions except for the hands-on lab. No mentions of EMC, NetApp, IBM, Cisco or HDS. The hands-on lab did have an exercise on NetApp FAS2050C and an EMC Clariion CX4-120 for LUN provisioning purposes in comparison to LUN provisioning on HP EVA’s. It was a positive strategy from HP, not to compare their products to that of EMC, NetApp and others.

A lot of discussions revolved around Virtualization related to VMware, Xen and Hyper-V, but HP made it clear they were VMware’s largest revenue producing partner and would like to remain so.

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Challenges

Platforms like EVA, SVSP, Lefthand, IBRIX and D2D were discussed. Independently every platform looks very interesting and very compelling. But an integration vision was still lacking, a direction or a strategy on how these pieces of puzzle will be joined together to form the common storage platform.  Though HP clearly seems to be making a move towards Converged Data Centers.

HP clearly has a very big competition in the storage market with already proven Vendors and their technologies. EMC, NetApp, IBM, Cisco, VMware in storage, networking and Converged Data Centers. Also technologies that are strong and emerging would largely cause market nuisance or focus disruption for HP.

One of the biggest problems I saw was, HP has these segments of storage and technology, rather not a unified vision, or didn’t come across as one. There are pouches of storage like EVA teams, SVSP teams, Lefthand teams and so forth, not sure if there is technology sharing and again a moved towards integrating all these technologies to form a unified storage platform. Though Proliant is the chosen platform for all Lefthand and Converged Data Center products.

HP still needs a very strong storage technology in the Enterprise space that is there own and not OEM’d. The truth is, eventually the HP – Hitachi relationship has to come to an end with HP’s new product that may compete in the same market space. This strategy will enable HP to be very unique in terms of the markets they serve, which may include their own inhouse storage products for SMB, Midsize and Enterprise customers.

So other lacking things from HP were the Cloud Strategy (if they ever plan to enter that space), Unified Storage details, FCoE discussions, Procurve, Deduplication platform discussions, IBRIX technology integration details, Storage Management, Storage Optimization and XP.

It may have been very hard to cover all these platforms in a day and a half with giving all the technology details behind it. Also remember this was an NON NDA session, so we were not preview to all the future products and technologies.

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Summary

Overall HP did hammer us for 2 consecutive days with HP Storage Technology. Coming out of it, I can truly say I didn’t realize HP had so much focus on Storage. Their move to hire Dave Donatelli was a smart one and hope over the next year as the Storage business moves under him; he will insert some new strategic direction.

So HP was the first OEM to arrange the HP Techday and make it open to Bloggers as an Invite Only Event. The ratio of Bloggers to HP Personnel was 1:2, giving everyone a lot of attention.

Now the question is who will be next OEM to do a similar event and what will they do to prove themselves different. Already hearing some buzz in the industry about some the effects of HP Techday and some possible events from other OEMs.

But I clearly see an advantage of an event like this and the after effects of it, Good move HP Storage – Marketing Team!

Cloud: The Quest for Standards

September 17th, 2009 No comments

Note: This is my first attempt to write about the Cloud technology, please feel free to correct me if my understanding of any of the aspects is not correct.

Many of us in the industry think about Standards as a hindrance to technological growth. Creating Standards has been a long drawn process for any technology that is set for robust growth. Cloud Services is one of those areas where we expect an exponential growth over the next few years. It’s better to control the behavior of growth rather than taming or enabling haphazard growth.  Standards typically help and are known to work in the favor of the consumers.

cloud_computing_growth

Why Standards

Example

Everyone in the industry or home users heard about the battle between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, years of consist & persistent fight between two major groups. Toshiba and alliances supporting the HD-DVD format while Sony and alliances supporting the Blu-Ray disc formats.

Billions of dollars of investment, millions in marketing, millions in legal battle, millions in customer investments, millions in HD-DVD investments, futures & employment dependent on those technologies.

In the end, HD-DVD loses the battle, Blu-Ray wins. Well who else lost, the consumers, the investments, the video game developers, the alliance partners and that means all of us. All the way around, YOU as a consumer is never a winner in this battle.

Example

Lets look at the WIFI technology 802.11 a/b/g/n. When all these WIFI technologies started, how excited were we, wow now I can connect my laptop over the air and browse the Internet and do not need a physical cable.

Imagine not having the 802.11 standards in place during this boom. You buy a Linksys WIFI for your home and install a Linksys Air card in your laptop and all works good. You go to the Starbucks around the corner and they have Netgear and your laptop WIFI stops working. You go to the office and they have a complete separate set of devices that are incompatible with your existing WIFI. All around it would have been chaos.

Wow, its good we didn’t go through that. Why, because there were standards. Interoperability was the key. Everyone made products, brought enhancements, but at the end of the day, they were all compatible with the users or consumers or customers.

Cloud

Standards

A Standard is typically a document that defines a certain set of shared protocols, resources, API’s, interoperability, security, methods, practices and other aspects relating to usage.

A Standards committee is normally formed with various manufacturers, service providers and experts that act as governing bodies defining and deciding on common technology practices.

Though do not get me wrong, Standards will not define your product features.

The Cloud Standards

Though some experts differ on the opinion for having a Cloud Standard early enough in the game, which is right now. I truly believe, in the best interest of the consumers, customers and investments, a common governing body should start deciding on the standards for Cloud Services.

Hypervisor

Hypervisor is the underlying technology, which enables virtualization in the cloud.

Question: Can a Standard be incorporated to enable applications to move from Hypervisor to Hypervisor (Vmware vSphere to Citrix Xen or Microsoft Hyper-V) without going through a redesign?

Result: That will enable your applications to move around the Cloud infrastructure irrelevant of the underlying technology provider.

Today: This cannot be done

Service Provider

Some of the famous and emerging Service providers today are Amazon, EMC Atmos (Beta), Nirvanix, Terremark, Savvis, Rackspace.

Question: Can you move your applications from Amazon to Rackspace and how easily can this be achieved.

Result: Free movement of the application irrelevant of the underlying Service provider, very hard to achieve.

Today: This cannot be done

Security

Security within the Cloud Infrastructure enables user, applications, application owners and other related applications to interact with each other based on standard protocols of communications.

Today: There are no standard security protocols used within the Cloud Infrastructure that are common amongst all service providers. Every security centric provider and service provider alliance will enable you with a certain security mechanism.

Storage

Underlying storage may ways be different, no real dependencies on use of Storage as it relates to Cloud and Standardization. Though Amazon uses a certain set of Storage, while Terremark and Savvis may use a certain kind, it should not create dependencies on application movements.

API’s

Application movement between private clouds. Application movement between public clouds. Application movement between private and public clouds.

Question: Can you move your applications from Terremark to Amazon’s EC2 and then back to the private cloud.

Result: The re-engineering of the application and the related API’s will enable that movement

Today: Very hard to do, or a very tedious process, No standards around it today.

Cost Models

Yet another driving force with Cloud based services. Some Service Providers today charge based on computational power, some on storage capacity, some on bandwidth, some on a mix of all

Question: Is your application hosted in Amazon’s EC2 costing you the same money that a similar application at Terremark would cost you.

Result: Standard pricing practices needs to be established. Pricing can vary based on feature sets.

cloud-question-mark-cloud-computing

Standards vs Dominance

So if you enable a certain technology to grow by itself in an uncontrolled manner, it just becomes a dominating factor and tends to mold people, industry, customers, ideas all in one direction. Typically that direction is where the dominance is.

If we wait too long for an establishment of a Standard for a certain technology, more or less that technology will be the Standard and everyone will need to adapt around it. Have you heard “Survival of the fittest and Dominance of the Strongest”?

The Customer

Remember you are talking about large scale investments with Cloud Services being developed, designed and implemented.

We should see exponential growth with the Cloud Services market over the next few years. This means billions of dollars will be poured into R&D, Infrastructure, Services and other related areas enabling Cloud Services.

This is the ripe time when things are yet not out of control, the more players join the mix, and the more dominance effect will persist.

This is the time to act and act in our favor to preserve the investment in technology that we all expect and hope to see growing. SNIA and DMTF is currently working on the Cloud Standards initiative (EDIT 09/17/09 at 11:15 AM).

It seems like as this post is being released, the first CDMI (Cloud Data Management Interface) draft is ready and released by SNIA. Glad to see the progress.


Unrelated to this discussion by a really funny Youtube Video by Mr. Larry Ellison of Oracle on Cloud Computing

Other Reading on Cloud (EDIT 09/17/09 at 11:15 AM)

http://cloud-standards.org/

http://www.snia.org/cloud

http://samj.net/search/label/cloud

http://thecloudclinic.com/tag/cloud-standards/

Note: This is my first attempt to write about the Cloud technology, please feel free to correct me if my understanding of any of the above aspects is not correct.


Vmworld 2009 – Twit Stream

August 29th, 2009 No comments

Stay tuned for all Vmworld 2009 Twits on StorageNerve Blog. You will see the twits updating realtime as things are happening at Vmworld 2009.

Please say tuned for all Vmworld 2009 updates on Tag VMWORLD 2009 including the latest blog posts.


Vmworld 2009: San Francisco

August 27th, 2009 No comments

So a pretty exciting week ahead, Vmworld 2009 begins on Monday. This is my first time at VMworld, and I am quite excited to attend.

We are working on some pretty cool technologies around Virtualization and Storage and would really like to understand and spend some quality time with the Vmware engineers understanding the new V-Sphere and other Clould – Virtualization services.

We get thrown in some very complicated implementations of virtualization both internally and externally (services to customers) and successful implement it or sometimes stumble and learn. This would be a good chance to talk to some very smart people in the industry to build contacts to reach out to and also talk to some Vmware engineering folks about some existing issues.

Also looking forward to hanging out with the fellow mates from Twitter and bloggers from the Virtualization – Storage Blogosphere, try to relate faces to the extraordinary news and blogging activity we see from all of them.

Looking forward to spend some time at the Expo (Solutions Gallery) talking to the exhibitors about the technology and services they provide in this vertical market space and how we can further leverage those to grow our technology solutions practice.

I will be accessible by twitter @StorageNerve at all times and also plan to blog on StorageNerve the entire event on a daily basis (time permitting). Looking forward to seeing a ton of people from the industry, various customers and fellow twitter mates….
To get the highlights of VMWorld 2009, visit StorageNerve everyday from the 30th August, 2009 through the 4th of September, 2009. Look for tag Vmworld-2009 (http://www.storagenerve.com/tag/vmworld-2009) on Posts.

Stay tuned for pictures, videos from Vmworld 2009.