Scalability Challenges are… Yada Yada

I’m writing this at ~35,000 feet – roughly 2/3rd of the way into my flight as I return from Denver. Despite the assurances from my local systems engineer – “it won’t snow until Sunday” – the storm appeared to start right above the airport. Needless to say, de-icing gave me an extra 60 minutes to reflect on my visit.

Each time I head to the field, it is typically at the bequest of sales – but each visit is getting less and less typical. I’m no longer educating the customers on what problems they will have and hoping they agree. I’m spending more time being educated on how our storage is improving their business.

It used to be: Sales Guy: “Hi, I’m with Isilon and here are the problems that we solve.”

Yada yada.

Customer: “Great to meet you, see us in six months.”

Now the conversation goes something like:

Customer: “Hi, we have some problems only you can solve. Let’s talk about it!”

Yada yada.

Sales Guy: “We’ll send you that evaluation equipment next week.”

I wish I could claim it was my presence, but without a doubt we’re spending less time convincing customers that they’re going to have a storage scalability problem and more time fitting the right storage into their architecture.

At lunch – where unfortunately I was given the nickname “Doogie Howser” – the organization we were meeting with wasn’t even considering NetApp or EMC for their virtualization tier (although they are used for their Oracle tier).

“You’re it. There is no other choice. The other vendors don’t make sense.”

Another organization, building a state of the art data delivery service, needed only to decide how much storage they would need to bite off initially. They know, without a doubt, that they can grow their system one node at a time – so they don’t need to focus on building a complicated architecture around storage.

10 TBs, 300 TBs, 5 PBs – that’s a business decision, not a technical one.

This is my vision for our customer’s storage planning…

  1. Have scalability challenge with storage.
  2. Yada yada
  3. Deploy Isilon and focus on what really matters for their business.

I’m glad to be back in the rain and out of the snow.

P.S. Go Seinfeld, Go – still the best thing on TV in the last 30 years.

About the Author: Nick Kirsch