dimanche 28 octobre 2007

I am not hungry for food!!

I did my "Storage Vision" presentation to a larger audience last week: all the IT organisation was there (70 people showed up, out of 150...basically storage interests people! ). The subject was about my storage strategy and implementation planning ..that was fun
Considering I work in an English bank, and that Rugby world cup final was last week-end (England vs South Africa), I used the theme of rugby as a background analogy:
  • Data is to Storage, what "oval ball" is to rugby: an entity that must circulate among the players, must be protected, and the goal is make value (score) out of this ball.
  • Rugby is a playfield, rules, players and referees. Storage Architecture is: infrastructure, process, procedures, building blocks, governance
  • Rugby game is nothing without a ball, storage is nothing without data
  • so forth...
Sport analogies are easily used...

The long term strategy I presented was: move to a "service oriented storage architecture".

So basically:
- put in place necessary tools & processes
- put in place a storage service catalog
- invest in tools to streamline storage demands
- tools to report accurate storage usage (gosh how difficult it is in a large environment
- manage risk
- manage change
- manage performance

Managers and stakeholders like the idea, but not all my fellow colleagues: I sense some of them are already taking their distance with me..am I presenting a threat somehow??

I proposed to invest in a product called SANscreen from Onaro (if you don't know this product, go to their website right now, or buy the company ASAP!!). Product costs 400kUSD (approx. list price) to manage 1500 SAN switch ports, do the reporting and do the storage reservation. It is not a monitoring tool, but a SAN Architect tool, and thus it is not replacing what we already have (HiCommand)

Price did not shock managers, but rather my colleagues:
"what!! you just arrived and you want to spend all this money in a monitoring tool???"

...when you know that, first these guys develop their own tools (based on opensource, costing only extra-time to the company), and second they fight like hell to obtain a new workstation.. you understand their reaction. Of course, an International Bank refuses proliferation of in-house open-source, not supported solutions..this point was made in a recent internal communication, furthermore it's written "black-on-white" (french expression) in the "IT Finance and Planning" document.

Talking of opensource, I did not mention IBM's project: Aperi
However, to maintain a "good and saine" relationship with Onaro, I will start a long-term project about evaluating Aperi as a SAN management alternative. Opensource is a good tool to maintain competition!

Also, I've been given the task to define the new Backup/Restore infrastructure, and do the migration. So we are going for a couple of SL8500, 20xT10k tape drives, a couple of VTL-V..all this to be in production quickly...budget 1.5m USD
Still don't know if I'll buy PS yet..who would do the job anyway?

At the same time, I am doing the planning and the build specifications for a couple of Netapp FAS3020c (sold by an ex-Sun) and a Centera stupid-box (also sold by an ex-Sun)

Basically, at the moment I am helping Sun to sell these boxes ...in other words, Sun is making more money by having me working for a customer..isn't that ironic...don't you think?

One of the advantage of being a customer is to be in touch with all these vendors: IBM, HDS, SUN, NETAPP, EMC..drawback, they all want to get me fat. Listen vendor: "I am not hungry for food!!"

mercredi 10 octobre 2007

storage architecture vision

yesterday I presented my storage architecture vision
for the bank. It was well perceived, and here's the recipe to write such a document:
- start by finding the right documents, and who wrote them (owners). Initial document inputs are the global strategy of the company, IT principles, and all the architecture documents you would find
- Write a first part, relating to how these inputs apply to storage
- List all the storage building blocks and develop how you would use them
- Define a set of rules for these building blocks
- Define the services you provide to your "customers" (in this case, customers=internal groups)
- draw a nice big diagram
- Present everything in front of the stakeholders

et voilà

jeudi 4 octobre 2007

Gimme a price!

Principle 1:
A vendor works with several cutomers
A customer works with several vendors

A customer has access to (valuable) information, a vendor would like to have: competitive information
A vendor has information a customer would love to have (expertise)

A vendor such as Sun/IBM... spend a load of money to get competitive price info. Here's what happened to me:my boss gives me a budget of USD250K to find an SRM product. Well, I have the budget, I know what product I want; off course, the budget is not to be given easily, I must first compare prices among potential vendor. I'm lucky, the product that fits my needs (AppIQ) is available from HDS, HP and Sun, I just need to ask a quote, for the same configuration:
- HP gives me USD350K
- Sun gives me USD1M (yes..that's not a typo)
-HDS, well they are not keen on giving me a price, coz the product is "too complex", I should try to get something else, made by HDS...a crap USP centric soft basically.

Problem description:
How to explain the price difference between HP and SUN? I gave same info to both (1000 FC ports, 500 servers dual attached)...I havent got a clue, but someone knows something I don't..

so basically, a customer has info (and money) vendors would love to get....but vendors have info, a customer would love to get also. If the interface vendor-customer is not right (trusted advisor) then we get these kind of excess

that's all folks