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July 14, 2011

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Dvellante

You are an awesome communicator Chuck. As one who sorta writes for a living I have a great appreciation for your writing skills. Nice overview.

Where I'm stuck in your assessment - and you touched on this a little - is heterogeneity. I've always had the impression that the paucity of storage management software from vendor A managing storage from vendor B was, in a large part anyway, the fault of storage vendors. It seems none of you ever wanted to be Veritas-like - you know the old line about a "Hardware Agenda?"

In reading your press release, again it seems to be 100% focused on managing EMC-only products. And in addition to all the things you list that customers want...the ability to manage other vendors' storage is downplayed but always comes up top of the list for customers. My sense was always that the business case wasn't there for emc and your competitors.

But is that really the case? Why leave that to Symantec. Or could VMware play a role there? Or are you planning to obtain Cisco-like market share so it won't matter :-)

Would love for you to double click on the heterogeneity issue a bit - specifically - even lacking a SNIA standard, why can't EMC do a better job providing support for other vendors' arrays?

Storagezilla

Hi Dave.
Symantec traded in "No Hardware Agenda" for "No Hardware Experience" with Huawei over the past few years so I wouldn't dust that quote off too often.

Around heterogeneity, ProSphere uses standardised interfaces such as WMI, SSH and SMI-S as well as Restful services for interoperability. What's in the current release is what we have ready for market today, there will be expanded support beyond what Chuck listed in the future.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Dave -- as always, thanks for the kind words.

I think it's rather commonplace for industry observers to blame "the vendors" for any issue that the watchers feel should be addressed.

For me, the root cause is not vendors, but customers.

Look at it this way, if there was strong customer demand for rich, heterogenous storage management tools (and backed by real purchase orders), trust me, you'd see all sorts of great offerings out there.

Sure, everyone says they want it. Who wouldn't? Next time, ask them how much they'd pay for it, and you'll probably get a different picture indeed :)

We, as vendors, tend to spend our R+D dollars on what our customers tell us they'd spend money on. And you don't see a lot of RFPs out there for rich, heterogenous storage management environments.

The beauty of capitalism at work.

That being said, there's more heterogenous support in our portfolio than I think you're giving us credit for. Familiar examples include RecoverPoint, VPLEX, PowerPath, the previous ControlCenter, Ionix, etc. etc.

In the case of ProSphere, the team fully intends to broaden and deepen support of non-EMC arrays -- but not as a first priority, as you'd might expect. Again, capitalism at work.

This time around, it should be a bit easier -- but not much.

Thanks to all of us vendors, there's half-decent SMI-S support in many of the popular storage platforms as a starting point, which will inevitably have to be extended by all sorts of one-off APIs, CLIs, scripts, etc. Vendor-by-vendor SMI-S implementations are sort of hit-and-miss these days, unfortunately.

Expensive stuff to develop; more expensive to support.

I think there's an opportunity for you and your team to dig deeper into this issue, and shine some independent light on the purchasing dynamics at work here, especially in larger storage environments.

We've got our views -- it'd be useful to see what Wikibon uncovers.

Thanks again ...

-- Chuck

Thanh

Was Prosphere developped from scratch or will it used some Controlcenter code or is it an aptare-based software ?

A guy having pita with ECC.

Chuck Hollis

Thanh --

The team tells the the vast majority of code (as well as architecture, design philosophy, etc.) are brand new. There was no mandate or incentive to re-use existing functionality.

I don't know what "aptare" is, but I doubt it was used.

-- Chuck

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Chuck Hollis


  • Chuck Hollis
    Chief Strategist, VMware SAS BU
    @chuckhollis

    Chuck has recently joined VMware in a new role, and is quite enthused!

    Previously, he was with EMC for 18 years, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Holliston, MA with his wife, three kids and four dogs when he's not travelling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.
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