Perfect Storage Architecture
I am a sucker, and I make a lot of choices without thinking, but just based on emotion. Which is why I own an Alfa Romeo! It was the car with the passion and soul (yes, I will continue to use this cliché) that I desired, and something that brought out the same in me. It was the car that fitted me personally, but is not to everyone else’s taste or choice.
However I’ve long been the believer that the ultimate modern car would be a hybrid. Not a gimmicky half electric thing, but a joint collaboration between several different manufacturers. To get the perfect car you need some of the following (sorry to any Americans, I love classic Detroit muscle, but I can’t place it in my perfect modern car!)
· Italian design and passion
· German mechanical engineering
· Japanese electronics and computers
· English flair and eccentricity
This car clearly doesn’t exist, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be a budget model! With cars you unfortunately can not use solutions architects to build the perfect automobile (as much as I am a total petrol head and would love the challenge!). But if this car did exist, it would be the perfect solution, and it would be built specifically for you. No two cars would be the same.
So how do we get this from a storage architecture? You’ve got the German mechanical excellence from people like HDS, the Japanese technology from people like NetApp, the English eccentricity from people like Pillar (to name but a few). I can’t think of any vendor that would fall into the Italian category, I don’t know of anyone who has ever bought a storage array for it’s passion and soul!
Can you put together a best of breed solution that gives you everything?
I work very closely with customers, and I try to distance myself from the inner workings of the vendors. I tend to find that vendor based solutions are quite rigid and sterile. If you had a completely blank environment and you built it from scratch, then maybe you’ll get the full functionality from the vendor. A vendor doesn’t want to engage another vendor as this means they lose control of the account, they lose the footprint they want. Sometimes solutions are thrown in blind just because the vendor thinks their product can do the job. I’ve seen vendors put in a solutions that are bound together by custom perl scripts or other customer coding. How do you manage that a year later when no-one knows what each script does and the coder has long moved on?
For my money you need best of breed. You need to create an independent solution based on different technologies. No one vendor has a complete solution, so you need to shop around and find the architecture that fits your solution perfectly. This might involve 5 or 6 different vendors, so you need to take the bull by the horns and make sure each vendor takes complete responsibility for their integration piece.
Many people would argue and say that this makes support and project management a nightmare. Well yes, if you don’t manage it properly, it could easily collapse around its ears. But then that’s the price you pay for the perfect solution! To get best of breed, to get the perfect solution and architecture, you need to spend some time and effort into designing it. You need to put in some of your own Italian passion and soul to pull the whole thing together and make the solution work, and make it fit for purpose.