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EMC, IBM, thin provisioning and wild animals

My daily rounds of the storage industry web this morning brought me to The Storage Anarchist, a blog by an EMCer that I often find interesting. As it turns out, one of my articles was in his sights yesterday following EMC’s earnings call.

Most of the reaction to the first-quarter earnings announcement was rather more negative than I think EMC would like, considering they posted record revenues. All the financial analysts on the call, wild eyed from the fog of battle out in the market as the economy sinks further into doldrums, seemed not to believe that EMC’s forecasts for the year were really remaining unchanged. And they did ask plenty of pointed questions.

TSA’s description is rather more dramatic: “Several of the participating financial analysts inquired about the potential impact that the newly-delivered virtual provisioning for Symmetrix might have on future capacity demands. From the tone of the questions, you could easily imagine a pride of lions circling their prey.”

But I have to say the next sentence surprised me. “And sure enough, by noon Beth Pariseau had her coverage posted on SearchStorage, under the headline EMC’s Tucci: Thin provisioning mandatory but overrated.”

After that there’s some discussion of a Byte and Switch article and there’s no further discussion of my article, so I’m still not precisely sure why it was brought up. A little ways down in the post, though, there’s this reference to a bear that recently killed its trainer that I can’t help but wonder about:

And all I have to say about the bear is: remember, these are wild animals, and they’re driven by instinct and not logic or trust.

Any resemblance between wild animals and industry experts is purely coincidental!

Again, it’s hard to tell exactly where that comment was directed, but I think he compared Mary Jander, Wall Street analysts and me to wild animals? That would certainly be a first for me!

So here’s the perspective from the other side of the coin (or cage, as it were). When the CEO of a major storage company explains to the folks on Wall Street exactly how his company is going to continue to make money on a feature billed by many in the industry as a way to not give vendors like EMC quite so much money in the long run, I think it’s probably important for users to hear that perspective on the technology. I think it’s also probably important for users to have a realistic sense of the benefits of a given technology, one they’re not getting from most vendor marketing. That’s the logic and trust I care about.

Meanwhile, TSA saves most of his scantily-veiled critiques for IBM, though of course he never names names. This in turn prompted IBM blogger Barry Whyte to respond with…the news that IBM is planning thin provisioning for SVC. IBM is giving thin provisioning the title, “Space Efficient Volumes/Vdisks (SEV).” 

So lets think about this, if for example you had an appliance that could front all storage types, provide you with online data migration between said storage types, let you manage copy services across them all, soon provide Space Efficient characteristics, natively support any SATA or flash device you decided you wanted, provide many thousands of disks behind a single management interface and integrate with all the ‘Israeli’ products you could imagine… why would you care that just one of your products that has its largest footprint as a Mainframe box didn’t have all of those features, when according to Mr Burke, everything the Mainframe does well it does itself, and by his own admission won’t need or use features like Thin Provisioning.

Interesting. But what’s odd there is that the mainframe box IBM sells is the DS8000, and last I heard, IBM’s planning thin provisioning for that too. Or maybe it will be getting thin provisioning by way of SVC?

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Do the benefits of implementing DaaS outweigh the risks?
The risks in security and administration are low. DaaS has a high barrier to entry and it’s not in Licensing. The infrastructure needed to deploy a VDI or buy a DaaS is still more expensive to current purchasing habits of IT shops in the US. High Speed Disks and Network enhancements still cost too much over what is already in the budget.
Absolutely. With some companies solutions, like V3 Systems (, DaaS provides high performance, high availability, and the power to access your desktop from nearly any device, anywhere. Make sure you trust your DaaS provider and you’ll have a great hosted desktop solution!
Absolutely. The so called risks are actually just factors that the customer can easily control with proper planning and deployment. DaaS is stable enough now for most customers with 25 – 150 users to adopt and will continue to become more affordable than the premise based model as the supporting technologies evolve and improve.
The long term benefits far outweigh the short term pain. As connectivity and speed issues are worked out customers can benefit and learn in the meantime.
Security and Bandwidth
I anticipate that this is an area that Microsoft would like to get in on the action and possibly dominate. Therefore I anticipate future battles with "competitors" of cloud services regarding licensing creating unstable costs of such services as a result unless those desktops are going to be linux.
There is really no reason to execute remotely if you have tons of compute power locally. There are ways to get the benefits without the drawbacks.
In the SME market DaaaS is a great way for small businesses to have access to enterprise level IT without the upfront costs.
The primary concern is the security because the service provider can view the desktop & access to our data.
The risks in security and administration are low. DaaS has a high barrier to entry and it's not in Licensing. The infrastructure needed to deploy a VDI or buy a DaaS is still more expensive to current purchasing habits of IT shops in the US. High Speed Disks and Network enhancements still cost too much over what is already in the budget.
This is a great post and I hope every potential DaaS user reads it. But I think it’s missing a critical link especially in the question around what one should look for from a DaaS provider. Look for a DaaS providers that focuses on the end-user from the design & architecture stage through to the monitoring & management . This means at the architecture stage your provider needs to do extensive user profiling, application usage segmentation, productivity expectations of user profiles and application performance benchmarking to ensure the right kind of desktop is given to the right kind of user 2) once provisioned, not only manage and monitor them but bind them with SLAs that align to end-user satisfaction & productivity and not just broadly to the technology. We recently took a manufacturing concern from a single user profile to a three user profile ensuring increased application avalaibility & productivity while lowering capex.
--Sivakumar Ramamurthy,
Chief Operating Officer,
Anunta Tech,
Costs of infrastructure, implementation, administration, etc. can be prohibitive for VDI, the possibility of outsourcing DaaS is an interesting solution, providing you have DEPENDABLE network and/or access infrastructure, sufficient internal and external bandwidth, profiled users (in terms of required software and Apps, bandwidth, security, etc.)
Daas will reduce IT infrastructure cost to some extent