Eye on Blades Blog: Trends in Infrastructure
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Data Center Ants and Grasshoppers

Will 2009 be a tough year for IT departments, and us tech vendors too?  Duh.  Will it be as bad as the article I read today, 2009 - Thomas the Tank's journey to IT Hell?  We shall see.  Too often, tough times inspire dark predictions, preying on our most basic fears of the unknown.

I don't think the IT Boogeyman is hiding under my bed.  I didn't think so in 2001 either.  The winds of change to virtualization and industry standards have been blowing for too many years now - the question is were you an Ant or a Grasshopper

For those that never read Aesop's Fables, the lesson is the Grasshopper is screwed. 


If you're well on your way with server virtualization and have been through at least one round of server consolidation, you took a good first step. Good job Ant!  But if there is one truth, oh grasshopper, that I took away from the IT Hell article, it's that the status quo isn't going to cut it in 2009.  I know the IT crowd is a conservative bunch and we live and die by the mantra "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The only problem is, sometimes if you don't break it yourself, someone or something will come a long and break it for you.

I'm not trying to scare you.  But we can't continue to resist change. 

There's more out there to do to take cost out (TCO) if you're going to be ready for the long winter of 2009.  If want to be a good Ant, you better add network, storage and power consolidation to the top of your shopping list.


When is choice not choice?

Following on the heels of our virtualization launch last week, Dell made a virtualization announcement of their own yesterday.  They announced a variety of third party products they now support and re-announced the blades servers they introduced last week, but this time referring to their virtualization design.  Curiously they compared their two-socket M805 full-height 16-DIMM blade to our four-socket blades, ignoring our two-socket half-height 16-DIMM ProLiant BL495c virtualization blade announced last week.  I guess comparing their blade against an HP blade that is half the size wouldn't have sounded as good.

But what really caught my  attention was their statement in their press release that their strategy is "grounded in choice".  I imagined how this strategy plays out with blades:

Customer "I'd like to choose a UNIX blade please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a storage blade please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a workstation blade please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a half-height blade with 16 DIMM sockets please."
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a two-servers-in one blade for my grid app please"
   Dell does not offer this choice.

Customer: "I'd like to choose a Non-stop blade" please.
   Okay I could go on, but you get the picture. 

As it turns out a lot of customers want these kids of choices.  Why?  Because a blade everything strategy means they can get the time, energy and cost savings BladeSystem offers for more of their IT infrastructure.  They can have a simpler, more consistent way to deploy, maintain, manage and service their infrastructure.  But here again Dell has clearly differentiated themselves, stating that "We are not blade everything".  I guess this is one choice Dell does not want to offer to customers.

Virtualization in simple language

If you read our blog on a regular basis, you know that we really like the idea of simple.  In my case, I'm the marketing guy, so I'm always looking for new ways to convey the value of very complex or very new technology in the most simple way.

Tonight, I ran across a presentation called "The Buzz on Virtualization".   It's an attempt to explain virtualization in simple language.  If you're an absolute, no-nothing, virtualization novice; start with this presentation.  Otherwise, the rest of this blog is more an examination of technical marketing than technical learning.

First a disclaimer: I think this presentation stinks. (Sorry Barry, nothing personal.) Especially for one that was submitted for the "World's Best Presentation Contest."  I also wouldn't really recommend it for anyone other than my mother if she asked me "What's virtualization?" 

Nevertheless, I will give this presentation a solid E for effort. It does a good job of trying to speak in a visual language, it had 3 big points and generally kept to 1 idea per slide.  Overall, I think the messages are pretty good.


Here's the point of this post: What do you think? 

In the high tech, business to business world is this type of presentation going in the right direction or the wrong one?  Do you want the spec sheet and white paper on slides or do you expect something different from presentations?  Almost every presentation I see from the top IT vendors (HP too) are almost identical, other than the different logos on the slide.  Is this conformity, wisdom or mediocrity?  


PS: If you really want to know why I think it stinks, comment below and I'll give you my full monty review.  Maybe I'll give some tips too.

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About the Author(s)
  • More than 25 years in the IT industry developing and managing marketing programs. Focused in emerging technologies like Virtualization, cloud and big data.
  • I am a member of the Enterprise Group Global Marketing team blogging on topics of interest for HP Servers. Check out blog posts on all four Server blog sites-Reality Check, The Eye on Blades, Mission Critical Computing and Hyperscale Computing- for exciting news on the future of compute.
  • I work within EMEA HP Servers Central Team as a launch manager for new products and general communications manager for EMEA HP Server specific information. I also tweet @ServerSavvyElla
  • HP Servers, Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and ExpertOne
  • WW responsibility for development of ROI and TCO tools for the entire ISS portfolio. Technical expertise with a financial spin to help IT show the business value of their projects.
  • I am a member of the HP BladeSystem Portfolio Marketing team, so my posts will focus on all things blades and blade infrastructure. Enjoy!
  • Luke Oda is a member of the HP's BCS Marketing team. With a primary focus on marketing programs that support HP's BCS portfolio. His interests include all things mission-critical and the continuing innovation that HP demonstrates across the globe.
  • Global Marketing Manager with 15 years experience in the high-tech industry.
  • 20 years of marketing experience in semiconductors, networking and servers. Focused on HP BladeSystem networking supporting Virtual Connect, interconnects and network adapters.
  • Working with HP BladeSystem.
  • Greetings! I am on the HP Enterprise Group marketing team. Topics I am interested in include Converged Infrastructure, Converged Systems and Management, and HP BladeSystem.
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