[sangeek] Newsletter Volume 1 Edition 2

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When I was walking the dog this morning and I was trying to think of new ideas to write in a newsletter. I still wanted to keep this somewhat personal so you guys can write back to me/interact.

A few ideas came to mind from a few other newsletters I subscribe to. One of them is Bruce Schneier’s Crypto-Gram. This is a monthly email about cryptography and other interesting security-like topics. If you are not a subscriber you can check this one out. I was interested in it when I was in the Army and also working for the Michigan State Police… Schneier tends to link to a bunch of industry news and offer his discussion points on those things. It’s a pretty cool concept and I’ll probably do a little of that since there is some new news in the storage industry… One of them is the introduction and announcements from NetApp today which I think I would like to comment on.


In this press release, Netapp talks about introducing NetApp Data ONTAP 8, some new FAS stuff, SSD drives and SAS drives.

A good summary of the changes:


My opinion is people are talking a lot about the automation of storage tiers. In the beginning there was FC storage…(ok maybe not the beginning, but…) then there was cheaper SATA drives, then there were SSDs, etc. Each fulfilled a specific purpose but as data changes, as more and more things are virtualized, etc. those specific needs also change.

I use the analogy of Cinderella’s Glass Slipper. Yes, it only fit her, and was built for her, but as more and more Prince Charmings came along more of the fairest of maidens wanted to change their feet to fit into the slipper. If only the magic Slipper maker made this shoe out of the material Croc’s were made out of, then maybe everything would fit in that shoe… It might be ugly, but it would work.

Wow, what did I just type? Ok I’ll explain (trust me, I’m only drinking coffee). As I provision storage, by the current way I do it, I ask the application owner what type of I/O he is going to expect and go from there. Normally it works out pretty well, but here is where things get ugly…. Let’s say all of a sudden those data requirements change? Or the application owner was wrong? Or suddenly this service became the most important and I/O intensive of the bunch? Well now you’ve got a nice little slipper, but it just doesn’t fit a really ugly foot no matter what you do. So, you move it to another tier of storage and it fits better, but it is a very time consuming process when you wish you could just have a magic thing that would look at all of your I/O and move things for you.

We are approaching 2011 and you can’t tell me that someone can program the “Angry Birds” application for my Android phone, but can’t look at I/O trending and move my data around for me? EMC FAST and FAST Cache is promising, NetAPP is doing some new stuff I read about today and Compellent has also done similar stuff for a while. I’m sure there are others, but those are the top ones I can think about with images of Cinderela wearing Croc’s in my head.

As VMware, virtualization, cloud computing, and archival of data become more and more a reality and application owners have less control over knowing what they want or need, shouldn’t tiering just be automatic? After all I’m sure even the slowest of 8086 based CPU’s can process performance data information faster than I can at 8am Monday morning after a long weekend of yard work, baby showers and working on the Jeep in the garage. Of course, I’m sure people can do this…just not me. I for one welcome our automation overlords.

So Mr. Storage Vendor, I guess what I’m saying is, it doesn’t need to be pretty, just make it fit everyone’s needs not just Cinderella’s. Although, I must admit I really like blue flashing lights. More on that later…

So this turned out to be more of a random thought from the brain of Sangeek, but what do you think?

Where do you think storage is going? I think one thing we can all agree on is that it is not going away anytime soon.

-Brian Boyd

—————Edition 1 (added because a few of you are new. If you’ve read it you can stop here————


Thanks for checking out my newsletter. Yep, a newsletter? Why do you ask?

I don’t have time to Blog. Twitter, Facebook, etc are also wierd to me at times. I will paraphrase a few things from another newsletter…the guy who setup tinyletter.com…his name is Pud and I’m pretty sure his newsletter is way more exciting than mine.

Blogs are a lot of work. If you don’t blog daily, you won’t build an audience. Email newsletters have a built-in audience. You won’t check my blog daily, but you’ll check your email…

Here are the key points:

-People can reply to email. I like that.

-Email addresses are somewhat permanent.

-Give me your email address and we can have a lifelong dialog.

Anyway, here goes nothing.

I currently am a computing data storage professional living in North Carolina. I like what I do, and I work for a well known University located in Durham. I’ve heard they have a great basketball program but their football team is not all that great.

I have had an interesting career thus far. It started probably as a young computer geek at Michigan State University BEFORE the internet. Yes, we had this cool thing called Gopher. We used it to play online text video games called MUDS!

…Ok I admit, it was a great way to learn how to type really fast, but not so great when you are trying to get an education and your grade point average suffers from it.

So, that landed me in the U.S. Army. I worked in Intelligence. It was fun. I would like to tell you more about it, but I don’t think I can. What I can tell you is that I lived in Germany for a while and enjoyed exploring around Europe.

When I got back from the Army I went to work at a few computer integration companies in Detroit that mainly served the Big-3 auto companies. That was fun.

Then suddenly I got a phone call from one of my good friends and I headed out to Beverly…Beverly Hills that is… Well not exactly Beverly Hills, but the Greater Los Angeles area. I worked for a while for a Dot-Com that was pretty exciting. It was kinda like Myspace or Facebook, but back then most people were still on dial-up and the network bandwidth for online Video and other media stuff just wasn’t there. I ended up only living in CA about a year, but enjoyed the time I was there.

After California, I moved back to my home state of Michigan. I ended up working as a computer forensic specialist with the Michigan State Police. That was a lot of fun. My favorite expression was: “I READ YOUR EMAILS”. I had a good time working there until I moved to Champaign, Illinois.

At the University of Illinois is really where I started doing storage related stuff. I worked on a bunch of Brocade gear, Sun/Storagtek arrays and also some Hewlett Packard EVA’s. The U of I is also where I met and married my beautiful Colombian bride Giomaris. We met through mutual friends who were also working at the U of I and basically introduced us. Flash forward to our first year of marriage and my wife and I were driving back from Florida from visiting family. After crossing the Kentucky/Illinois border it began to snow. My wife turned to me and said that I needed to start looking for a job someplace with less snow. I agreed and a few short months later we were packing up our things and moving to Durham, NC.

So, here I am. 3 years later…it’s 66 degrees outside in November and well, I think I’ve accomplished the weather thing….any warmer and I would be in Miami, but it’s just too expensive down there and SUPER hot in the Summer I’ve heard.

But, hey this is a storage newsletter. I think I just want to start writing about things that I work on like EMC, Netapp, HP, news and information, but maybe mix in a little bit of tips and tricks….who knows.

I also reeeeaaaaalllly like newsletters because I would like to hear things back from you….and I think they are a little more personal.

What do you think?

Until next time,

Brian P. Boyd

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