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June 04, 2008


Taylor Allis

Hey Chuck - that Sun/Intel use case you point to is just one use case - not "the target."

But more to the point - since when does offering customers the ability to increase their storage application performance by 3x while decreasing power consumption costs by 4.9x though hybrid SSD/HDD storage management strike anyone as "Not a compelling use case"??????

Chuck Hollis

Gee, you're back.

First thought, I think you missed the point of the post regarding thought leadership.

That's fine -- I understand completely.

Second thought, if that's all you're getting from flash, you probably need to revisit your implementation a bit ...

Third thought -- I think the market will be more interested when you've got a product that's shipping, supported, etc.

Or not, as the case may be.

Best of luck to the team at Sun

Kevin Rowney

I like your blog and it's often a fun read, but I really have to object to your attempt to portray EMC as a thought leader in Data Loss Prevention.

DLP was created by *startups* and many of the core ideas of the space were largely mapped out by late 2001. In the last couple of years, your company bought a relatively late entrant in the DLP game. Frankly, it's hard to point to any really big new earth-shattering concept in DLP pioneered by the startup you bought or by EMC itself.

From reading your past posts on this topic, it's clear that - to use your dog-sledding analogy - EMC follows our paw-prints in the snow out on the DLP trail.

Kevin Rowney
Founder, Vontu Division of Symantec

Chuck Hollis

Hi Kevin

To be honest, I'm not 100% familiar with Vontu, nor the chronology of who came up with which idea first.

And if you -- or anyone else -- has done the pioneering thought leadership work on a topic, I'd be highly motivated to give credit where credit is due.

That being said, you've piqued my inquisitiveness a bit ... let me check around, and get back to you.

Thanks for sharing ...

Alex McDonald

Some of your stuff is though provoking and interesting; you write well, and you make a good deal of sense. But when you whine, it's awful.

"I'm dismayed when I see others in our industry resorting to cooking up benchmarks and crowing about their results." Sheesh.

We've been over this before. The NetApp SPC-1 benchmarks were a direct result of EMC's unaudited benchmark here; http://www.emc.com/collateral/hardware/specification-sheet/300-004-233.pdf. And it's on your pal Dell's website too; http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/pvaul/en/netapp_performance_san.pdf.

When calling the pot black, best not be the kettle.

"... because we play in a very competitive industry, we have to spend significant cycles setting the story straight, and bringing a bit of balance to the discussion."

Too right. But you're spending cycles because your story requires that you rewrite the facts.


Your company is arrogant. I like that.

Chuck Hollis

Alex, I guess you're helping to prove my point.

If you'll recall, the blog post was about certain vendors thinking it's more important to bash the competition than to innovate or demonstrate thought leadership.

And -- of course -- true to form, you decided to go for another round of bashing.

At least the gang at NetApp is consistent!

Chuck Hollis

Dale, sorry to disappoint, but -- living and working inside of EMC -- I can't really describe the company as "arrogant".

Excited, passionate, enthusiastic -- yes.

Arrogant -- not really.

Hope you won't like us any less because of this ;-)

Alex McDonald

Innovation is fine. Demonstrating thought leadership is fine. Good stuff, and you've a lot to say that makes sense. That I like.

But EMC and NetApp aren't think-tanks or management consultancies. We're companies that should be selling to customers the solutions that help them progress their businesses. Sales that should be won and lost on a variety of issues; hard issues like cost, functionality, performance, value for money; and soft issues like roadmap, direction, industry position, thought leadership to name but a few.

If that were only true. Where I sit, down in the trenches in the real world, it's a one-way propaganda war with you guys. Because I'm afraid that most of the stuff that gets passed in my direction from our sales guys when we compete with EMC isn't about EMC's leadership. It's bash-NetApp FUD.

I've just had a potential new customer on the phone; he's just sat through an anti-NetApp presentation from EMC. He described it as "30 minutes of slagging off NetApp". Some of what he's just heard and relayed to me is just downright dishonest. EMC have blinded its salesforce with this nonsense over the years, and they can't see their way to selling a solution as a result.

That's not leadership.

I do understand your frustration (and perhaps you'll understand mine), but you've picked the wrong target. The enemy is inside the tent. It's your own company that's causing you the problem of having to spend significant cycles setting the story straight.


Who's bashing who here? I think I lost track....

But you can't really say with dry eyes a company like NetApp is not innovative, at least I still have to see ANYONE else in the industry to provide ANY benchmark result (authored or not) where RAID6 and snaps are ENABLED by default.

Like EMC invented the CAS market,I recall Network Appliance building the NAS & iSCSI market from ground up (through thought leadership?). So a little more respect would be fine here...

Chuck Hollis

Hi Alex -- good discussion

First, I'd take exception with the "neither of us is a think tank or a mangement consultancy". Actually, we have both functions as part of EMC's mainline business, but I digress.

As far as the FUD war in the field, yep, I'd agree -- when it's rep to rep, toe to toe, the competitive blather flows from both camps.

If you've ever been exposed to game theory, you'll remember the "Prisoners' Dilemna", a situation where a positive outcome was available for both players, but trust was involved.

The structural similarities to the situation you describe are striking. And, from where I sit, the outcome will always be suboptimal for all players.

In the meantime, though, it'd be nice to hear some new thoughts from NetApp and the rest of the industry ... wouldn't it?

Chuck Hollis

Hi Sjon

Yes, there's a lot of inter-vendor bashing in the storage industry. That doesn't mean I have to like it, though ...

For me, innovation comes in different sizes and shapes. Sure, lots of storage vendors have innovated on one feature or another, maybe a clever use of snap, or perhaps a novel data layout. That's all useful.

But I can't consider that "thought leadership" or innovation on a macro scale.

I would disagree with your assertion that "NetApp built the NAS and iSCSI market from the ground up".

Technically speaking, they were rather late to the party -- fast followers -- but did spend an enormous amount of effort evangelizing the technologies, and I'd give them credit for their widespread acceptance and use -- although, according to Gartner and IDC -- they haven't been able to establish a clear market leadership position in either.

And, finally, I give all storage vendors a measure of respect. This is a tough business, and not for the faint hearted.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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