Monday, July 31, 2006

SGI: A Case Study for The Innovator's Dilemma

Jason Stamper wrote an interesting blog entry on SGI wondering if it will become next Data General (see, Will SGI Become the Next Data General?). Some takeaways from his post are:
  • Great technology ultimately failed to capitalize.
  • CEO stressing that SGI not looking for exit strategy. Yeah, right!
  • Botched and failed acquisitions. Focus on perceived core, missed opportunities elsewhere. Cultural heritage hurdles!
  • Made irrelevant by commodity, PC and open source. Going the way Data General, DEC and Sequent went.
  • Is it all over for SGI? Most likely!
What I read on Jason's blog and know of SGI, I wonder if SGI will become another case study in favor of the theories elaborated in The Innovator's Dilemma.

Based on the mentioned strategy of "Going Downstream", I am certain SGI is heading in the same direction as every company mentioned in The Innovator's Dilemma who tried this after getting beat by smaller rivals/technologies. This strategy along with reorganization and cost cutting measures may create a smaller leaner SGI ready to be plucked by a rival but it is not going to make SGI an innovative top-tier leader again.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Aperi Community Teleconference & Proposal

Received this message from Phil Mills, SNIA Secretary, detailing Aperi teleconference. The proposal, available at Eclipse website, looks plain vanilla. I still don't get Aperi's value proposition above and beyond WBEM, CIM, and SMI-S.
All SNIA Members,

SNIA and the Aperi Community have agreed to collaborate to advance the SNIA's SMI-S Architecture. The details of this formal alliance are currently being developed in the SNIA Strategic Alliances Committee. The Aperi Community has scheduled a teleconference to explain their program to interested SNIA members and provide pertinent information on how to participate. A slide deck is being created for this teleconference and will be made available to SNIA members prior to the call.

The following is the invitation from Aperi.

Phil Mills, Secretary of SNIA

You are invited to attend an session to learn more about the Aperi open source storage management project.

Aperi information session

Date: Wednesday Aug 2nd 11:00 am PT/2:00 pm ET

Call-In Info:

TollFree: 866-803-2141
International +1-203-607-0460
Passcode: 2295944

In this call we will discuss:

* The mission and benefits of the Aperi open source project
* Relationship of the Aperi open source project to SNIA's SMI
* The Eclipse open source community
* How to participate in the Aperi project

Members of the Aperi community will be on the call to share this information and answer your questions. You can read the Aperi Project proposal at: http://www.eclipse.org/proposals/aperi/

Regards,
The Aperi Community

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Psst … Pricing without talking to storage vendor

Do you want access to price list of storage vendors without having to listen to vendors pitch?

Robin Harris has been doing great job culling up price lists from various sources and posting them online. He already posted price list of Xiotech, Texas Memory, StoreAge, StorageTek, Seagate, Riverbed, Quantum, Qlogic, Pillar, Panasas, Network Appliance, Nexsan, McData, Lefthand, Isilon, IBM, HP, Hitachi, Finisar, Falconstor, EqualLogic, EMC, Dell, Data Domain, CreekPath, Brocade, Avamar, ADIC, and 3PAR.

A great new pricing resource for getting started on developing budget for your next storage project, pricing comparison and negotiation leverage.

In the past, I used GSA pricing and price lists obtained from Internet/ vendor/ channel/ end-user for developing business cases and preliminary budget for the storage projects. Robin Harris work offers one more price reference point for next price-based analysis.

Now, can someone figure out ways to harvest and make available all the vendor documentation currently available only with proper credentials?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Storage TCO Elements

Recently, David Merrill, HDS posted his list of 30 types of storage TCO elements. At ANDIROG, I used his white papers, Storage Economics and ROI and Business Case Support for SAN, extensively in business case developments. In my opinion, his list misses the costs associated with replacement, migration, and disposal activities.

Instead of listing TCO elements arbitrarily, I like to divide them in to a grid similar to the picture we used at ANDIROG to explain our focus. Listing infrastructure components and how each one is impacted by infrastructure activities related to customer data highlighting one or two elements from each category with most impact.

It is particularly useful when talking to different IT groups with in an organization or helping one group in selling their projects to other groups.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

What I am doing in Seattle?

Since I wrote about my move to Seattle (See Transition to Seattle), some readers inquired about what I am doing in Seattle.

Here is quick and short response. I am working as Systems Engineer in Northwest Field Services group at ADIC. I am still a storage practitioner at heart so don't hold against me for working with a storage vendor.

Here are some clarifications and disclaimers. ADIC didn't hire me to be their blog evangelist. This is my personal blog, not an ADIC blog. ADIC has no editorial oversight over my personal blog (Except this blog entry, as I wanted to make sure that all bases are covered from disclosure perspective). I am at the bottom of the totem pole at ADIC so don't expect any juicy gossips or future product strategies on this blog.

The views expressed in this blog are mine alone and definitely do not represent the views of anyone else including my employer, colleagues, friends and family.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Creative storage licensing practices

While reviewing my blog feeds today, I came across a blog entry The Greed in Software Licensing. In this post, Snig mentioned his frustration with licensing policy of HDS Tiered Storage Manager (TSM) product and offered an alternate solution to his licensed storage issue.

In my experience, all storage software vendors, one way or another, employ such creative licensing strategies to maximize revenue per customer while keeping the entry fee low enough to lure new end users. What licensing strategies have you experienced from storage vendors?

Such incidents highlight the importance of due diligence by end-users and independent advisors before considering any new product or technology. I am sure HDS sales would have bent backwards to accommodate Snig's license request if it was part of initial sale.

Such business tactics surprise me. Most business educators preach that it is more expensive to get new customers than to keep current ones. Then why, in reality, most businesses treat their current customers worse than new customers?

Kudos to Hu Yoshida for responding quickly to concerns raised in Snig's post. Hopefully, his initiatives will bring structural changes in licensing practices instead of just a license handout to Snig.

This incident also goes to show the power of corporate blogging. How times have changed! Since Hu started blogging, my impression of HDS has shifted from a "closely guarded" company to company that want to converse with the market. Even though, the HDS storage was the first SAN attached storage I worked with, I never got involved further just because I found them difficult to communicate with!

Three type of people, I miss most!

Three type of fellows, I am not meeting yet in Seattle area:

Storage professionals. Most probably, there are active storage organizations and events in Seattle area. I just haven't found information on where storage professionals get together in Seattle area. Do you know any local storage meetings? Send me an email.

Budding entrepreneurs. Last month, I attended TiE meeting in Bellevue. This was my first opportunity to interact with budding entrepreneurs in Seattle area. I look forward to further getting involved with such initiatives and building some relationships for the 'future'.

Terrible golfers. I am pretty terrible golf player. So it has been challenging to find a fellow golf partner with similar skill level to have fun on the golf course. If you know your handicap, you are too advanced to be my golf partner. Everyone else, I will be up for a round of golf.