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December 05, 2012



This makes me rather sad, I thought being able to use xtremeio as a datacenter wide cross array cache would be a massive jump forward.

I was envisioning EMC having a solution with vplex combining with fast sub lun tiering. Then add in VNX, Isislon & VMAX all working with vplex (Isilon may not work well, but both Isilon & Xtreme using inifiniband not impossible); rather than having large islands of SSD cache within individual arrays imagine a centralized global SSD cache. I wouldn't expect to completely remove SSD from the arrays, but reduce the level in them. It's easier for me to make an purchase argument for expensive storage that could be used datacenter wide across NAS/SAN than just one array.

As we all have differing workloads depending upon time of year, the performance of my NAS array is as or more important to me at times than my VMAX when certain processes are running. I was really digging the thought of the infrastructure automatically responding to workload for the entire datacenter without me having to micromanage luns... it was a very, very powerful thought.

Chuck Hollis

Insane Geek

Then you'll be very interested in upcoming announcements during 2013 along these lines. You can see a preview if you search here (or elsewhere) for Project Thunder.

-- Chuck

Insane Geek

I've already had the pitch from "Cache Gordon" for Thunder, and it looks very interesting but it doesn't really help across the board. To my knowledge it's still per server and only helps with block clients not NAS clients. I'm thinking more at the SAN fabric layer (i.e. local VPLEX) and then using NAS gateways that could use that SSD space as well.

If Thunder is looking to go beyond directly to the server that could be interesting indeed.

Chuck Hollis

Insane Geek

Ahh, I see what you're after -- sort of a "cache abstraction layer" that could serve all presentation models as a shared and manageable pool, and -- of course -- be independent of array type, etc.

It's an interesting thought, to be sure.

But, as you know, flash is all about speed, and the closer to the server you are, the better. We're getting into serious debates around microseconds already.

The other consideration is that we would now be putting FOUR different flash architectural options in front of our customers: in the server, shared server appliance, your proposal, and -- of course -- flash in the array itself. That would make for a heckuva lot of puzzled looks all around :)

But it's an interesting idea nonetheless -- cache acceleration as a basic shared storage service -- so I'll see if I can go shop it around a bit.

-- Chuck

Eli Efrat

Hi Chuck,
Eli Efrat here, CEO of Axxana.
Yes, we are a proud member of EMC Select.
It is truly amazing - I went through the EXACT same experience with StorageNewsletter just last week, with a Q&A they did with me about Axxana. One sentence you wrote: "I'm not quite sure how it happened. The questions were reasonable; I thought my answers reasonable -- but the result wasn't ideal.", was as if you took the words out my mouth last week...

Eli Efrat

And... I too am looking forward to my next interview with Storage Newsletter :)

Chuck Hollis

Hi Everyone

Jean-Jacques Malevel (the author of Storage Newsletter) attempted to respond to what I said here, but had difficulties in posting his comments.

I suggested he email them to me, and I'd post them for him. So here it is:



First, you are contesting my figures on the storage business of EMC and NetApp in the interview when I asked you the following question last November 15: "You lost market share vs. NetApp for last known fiscal quarter (storage sales down 1.4% sequentially for EMC, up 2% for NetApp). What's your explanation?" "I have no idea where he got those numbers," you write on your blog.

Here it is:

For EMC in fiscal 3Q12: Quarterly sales for storage products reached $3,763 million down 1.4% sequentially. Look at your quarterly report and also at our news: http://www.storagenewsletter.com/news/financial/emc-fiscal-3q12-financial-results

For NetApp in fiscal 3Q12: Storage products revenue was $996 million, down 2% from 2Q2012. Look also at http://www.storagenewsletter.com/news/financial/netapp-fiscal-2q13-financial-results

On your side, for the demonstration, you publish the figures of IDC on your blog, but mine are the OFFICIAL figures of the two companies for their last financial quarter.

To prove your comment, you write: "Here are the IDC numbers that most people use - which show the complete opposite - so I try and be diplomatic".

You publish some figures of IDC for 2Q12 for the worldwide external storage market enterprise as my question was about the quarterly results from 2Q12 to 3Q12. Look at the right ones, the IDC numbers just published for 3Q12 for the same market: EMC: -2.2% from 2Q12 to 3Q12.

More than that, you have changed many sentences in the interview totally republished on your blog. We usually transcript accurately the answers to questions, just removing some parts without interest, for example when you don't know the answer to a question as it was the case. Between quotation marks, journalists do not change what you say. We will be happy to send you the original audio recording of the interview. That's not our fault if you have not appreciated what you told us on the faithful transcript - even if can happen that we did some few mistakes. We don't "clean up the interview" to "make it perhaps a bit more readable" as you wrote and did in your blog.

It's the first time I encounter during my long career in the IT press such a problem following an interview. And I have published 133 of them with storage executives - mainly with CEOs - since the inception of StorageNewsletter, on paper and then on Internet.

Please add these comments to your article "Lost In Translation?" on your blog before next Monday.


Jean-Jacques: here it is. My response is in the next comment.


Chuck Hollis


I can see by your comments you're frustrated and upset. That's not my goal here.

Let's take it point by point.

First, I think you're confusing "storage revenue" with "storage market share". They are different concepts.

For example, in a declining economy, it is possible to both have declining revenues and increasing market share.

You asked a question about storage market share, so that's what I answered. If you were to ask a question about storage revenues, you would have gotten a different answer.

Going farther, every vendor defines their "storage revenue" a bit differently -- do you include software, rentals, services or not?

IDC does a good job of normalizing different interpretations so we all can compare apples-to-apples. We all use the IDC numbers for that very reason.

Since this interview, IDC has just published more recent numbers (yesterday?), which I haven't had a chance to go look at.

Regarding the transcription -- I found multiple errors that changed the meaning. For example, on the weekend, I don't "lay in bars" -- I play in them, as a musician.

I did provide the link back to your original transcription so readers can read both, and come to their own conclusions.

I, too, have been interviewed hundreds of times by writers around the globe, and this is the first time I've had this experience as well.

As I said before, I thought the questions and answers were good -- but something seemed to get lost in translation. I don't think there was any malice or ill-will on behalf of either party.

And I was quite sincere when I said I was looking forward to our next interview.

Best regards

-- Chuck

Corentin Béchade

Internet is a beautiful media, it can ruin a perfectly fine Sunday just with a blog post telling you that you did crappy work.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Corentin Béchade, I'm a young editor at Storage Newsletter and the one responsible for this highly debated transcription (For the Axxana one too if Eli reads me)

Don't get me wrong after being corrected by Eli and now by you Chuck I'm probably the faulty one. As you said Chuck we're all seeking continual improvement and I seemed to have learned that the hard way. But there is a few things I would like to get straight.

The interview conducted by Jean-Jacques was interesting to listen to because it was full of what I would call "raw material", that is, the honesty and the natural language between an interviewer and an interviewee.

I think I can speak for JJ and me when I say that that is what we like in an interview. This is why I transcribed and not "translate" it as it was, with no word replacement or politically correct sentences. We are not in the marketing field, we work as journalist, our goal is to transcribe as accurately as possible what is being said.

I admit gladly that my transcription was maybe not perfect, I'm still working to improve my skills, I listened to that interview several time to be sure I wasn't missing anything. I also put our transcript side to side with yours and most of the work is pretty much the same. Telling that things got lost in translation is a bit exaggerated. But when you decide to change or to remove parts of what you said, that's when things start to get complicated.

Nevertheless I admit I can make some mistakes, I'm not bulletproof, but the better solution is to send us an e-mail with corrections that we can look at, not to rewrite what was being said. Because simply there's no other way for us but to look at this and think of it as a personal attack.

We are open to criticism but when you start by saying that the whole interview is badly translated it puts your words against ours and create this whole mess. It's not good publicity for you or us

Corentin Béchade

Chuck Hollis

Hello Corentin

Thank you for providing additional color and detail from your perspective. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ruin your Sunday.

You are right, I could have created a lengthy email to you and your colleague, going line-by-line with corrections and clarifications, and hoped you would have eventually made the edits.

I also had the option of publishing the edits via my blog, as I did.

Let's not forget, there's another potential option here as well -- you could have sent me a rough draft of your transcription prior to publishing on the web, and we could have fixed it then and there.

As you know, once something is published on the web, there's no "undo" key.

If you go back and read the above post, I made it clear that I was not trying to assign blame -- maybe I spoke too fast, maybe I was not clear, maybe I should have kept it much more simple.

Regardless of fault, the end result was not ideal, and had several inaccuracies. I'm sorry if you and JJM see this as a personal attack; that was not my goal in the least.

I had my own less-than-fun day after you published.

For example, I had many people reaching out to me, asking "What happened in that interview? That doesn't sound at all like you ...".

And they were right, it didn't sound like me at all -- neither words nor context.

Several internal EMC people contacted me to say that I had made mistakes in the interview. I had to patiently tell each and every one of them that I had been misquoted.

And a certain industry blogger decided to pounce on one of the misquotes as "evidence" that one of our product programs was in serious trouble, which is not the case.

As I shared with JJM, I provided a link back to the original interview you published, or -- at least -- what ever form it might be in now if you've edited it since. Readers are free to compare, and draw their own judgments.

If you're looking for that live, conversational feel, perhaps the best medium is a podcast or video interview. I do a lot of those, and they come out pretty well.

As I've mentioned before, I look forward to my next interview with Storage Newsletter!

-- Chuck


not to beat a dead horse but this new blog post may help clear up the revenue versus market share discussion


The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    Chief Strategist, VMware Storage and Availability Business Unit

    Chuck works for VMware, and is deeply embroiled in all things software-defined storage these days.

    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 traveling. 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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