Well, it’s the day after the big announcement. Plenty more to discuss on technologies, architectures, pros and cons, impacts, etc. -- and that will inevitably happen over the next few weeks and months.
But when you announce something this big, it’s always interesting to see how different audiences react.
And, yes, I do have some gentle suggestions for some of EMC’s competitors in this regard.
The Quick Breakdown
Most of the reaction from industry analysts was in the range from “very positive” to “uncharacteristically enthusiastic”. Most of them forgot to do their usual pointing out of concerns, limitations, caveats, etc. as they do with any product or technology announcement.
From my perspective, they either didn’t see any real caveats, or got swept up in the general enthusiasm for what EMC announced. Probably a combination of the above.
The industry-savvy press (those that specifically follow this stuff) had a similar reaction as well. The general coverage from Chris Mellor, Dave Raffo, Beth et. al. was pretty good.
The independent storage bloggers — people like Steve Foskett and Chris Evans — were generally enthusiastic. As were end users like Martin G, who took time from his holiday to watch the launch and offer up his thoughts on his blog. Thanks, Martin!
One crowd that wasn’t particularly enthusiastic was many of EMC’s competitors. I would be shocked if they weren’t extremely critical of something this big. As a matter of fact, we were all looking forward to their responses post-launch.
We were kind of disappointed in that regard. We were looking for good, intelligent discussion around the pros and cons of EMC’s architectural thinking. We didn’t get any of that.
As a matter of fact, the quality of the responses were so poor, I’d like to offer up some friendly coaching to some of my industry compatriots.
#1 -- You Shouldn't Criticize What You Don’t Understand
Many of the competitive responses showed that the responder had no clear idea of what the new V-Max was, how it worked, key technical characteristics, etc. Between the official launch and all the blogging support, there was a ton of detail to go shoot at if you wanted to.
Instead, we saw a number of responses that were incoherent, rambling and sounded like they were reacting to something entirely different. It wasn't pretty.
[note: if you are still really confused, Dave Graham has put up this very handy guide here.]
In the future, my advice would be to take more time to really understand what you’re reacting to. I think you didn’t do you or your company any favors by random shooting.
#2 -- Use Your Own Bloggers
A few of our competitors have taken to using "competitive blogging consultants" (you know who you are) in an effort to participate in the discussion. Not only is it kind of sad that you have to do this, but your hired guns aren't that good either.
My advice would be to develop your own voices and talent in this regard -- since blogging is supposed to be authentic and personal.
Or get better hired guns.
#3 -- Ridicule Is Cute — For Kids
Some people like Marc Farley are clever with ridicule and sarcasm. Most competitive bloggers aren’t. They had great fun poking fun at the internal code name of the product and other aspects of EMC and the product launch.
While I’m quite sure there some people out there that are somewhat entertained by all of this, I can’t help but think that your customers were looking for an intelligent, mature response to an intelligent, mature product launch from EMC.
And if you're going for a character assassination (a few employees of competitors went this route), the least you could do is reveal your real name and affiliation. You ARE proud of your work, aren't you?
Marc — great work on your video — now remind me, which company do you work for again?
#4 -- Claiming “We Were First” Can Be Pathetic
In any complex and sophisticated technology launch, you’ll inevitably find a few ideas and concepts that might have been expressed earlier in other vendors’ product lines.
Most of us would generally consider this a good thing.
As an example plenty of EMC’s thinking ends up in other vendors’ product lines — it’s how the IT industry works.
Claiming to be first is fine for bragging rights, but little else.
One could argue that the first popular desktop operating system was CP/M from Digital Research. Or the first popular web browser was Netscape. Heck, the first popular LAN I used was twisted-pair RS-422.
None of it really matters, except to historians.
#5 -- We're Already Doing That, You're Catching Up To Us, Etc.
None of this really sort of hooting and hollering really stands up to real scrutiny.
Please consider this we're not complete idiots here at EMC. If something had already been done -- and done well -- why would we invest a bazillion dollars in R+D to do it again?
The fact that we spent the time and money to build something means that we believe that what we have is significantly better and differentiated that what's already out there. That's the way we work.
My advice would be to join the discussion and to helping people understand the pros and cons of the new architectural approach --- which is truly is "new".
#6 -- If You Don’t Have Anything To Say, Don’t Say Anything
A few of EMC’s storage competitors — like IBM — just pretended that the whole thing didn’t happen.
Given that their current situation -- and the fact that they had nothing useful to say -- that’s probably the best approach. A few others might want to follow their example in the future.
I hope my industry colleagues accept this coaching in the spirit in which it was intended — I’m trying to help you improve your collective game out there.
We at EMC love a good, competitive rumble. It makes us and our products better, and generally improves the industry. And, gauging from the reaction from our customers and yours -- everyone is very interested in what we're doing with Symmetrix V-Max as well as the rest of the EMC portfolio.
So — all of you — I’d encourage you to take the time to understand what V-Max is all about, how it works — and offer up your best intellectual thoughts as to the pros and cons.
We’re really looking forward to the discussion.