Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Could IBM be buying Netapp?

Over at Tech Trader Daily, Eric Savitz has picked up on a 6% rise of Netapp shares today. There are no theories as to why, but I have my own. Could IBM be planning to buy Netapp?

If you think about it, the purchase would make sense. IBM is a huge reseller of Netapp as the N-Series. IBM can give Netapp access to a massive sales force, accelerating the plans Netapp has to move their sales channel to a more direct model. At $8.7 billion, it's a snip!

Then there's XIV. Could Netapp add the extra touch required to make XIV an enterprise product?

Remember you heard it here first.

P.S. I don't own shares in either Netapp or IBM

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Conserve IT Con

There's been a lot of blogosphere talk recently about the Wikibon "Conserve_IT" initiative and how California's Pacific Gas and Electric Company are taking the initiative and offering organisations rebates for demonstrable IT efficiencies. You can find comments here, here and here.

Unfortunately as with so many of these kinds of initiatives, the devil is in the detail. It is worth spending time reading the Conserve IT wiki page and Wikipedia's page on the California Energy Crisis of 2000/2001. To quote from Conserve IT: "Power in California is severely constrained". Why is that? The answer is pretty simple; California botched their deregulation of the energy markets and were screwed over by many companies, including Enron. In addition, significant underinvestment has placed restrictions on power distribution within the state (some of which is starting to be remedied).

It is pretty obvious that companies such as PG&E need other methods of controlling energy growth (Wikibon almost claim a virtue of the way per capita energy growth has remained flat in California compared to the rest of the US and Europe) and rebates for efficient energy use is their approach. Don't think of this as an altruisic green initiative - PG&E and others can't provide the electricity required.

So what about the Conserve IT initiative?

"As part of the qualification process, Wikibon has launched the Wikibon Energy Labs, an independent verification service that validates energy measurements of vendor products. "

Do we have so little faith in our vendors? When companies deploy equipment into their datacentres do they not measure the increased load on their PDUs? HDS and EMC provide tools for calculating the power demands of their products. These are detailed methods of analysis, down to the component level. Cisco provide significant information on power draw for their equipment (I've talked about this before). I'm sure other companies do to - feel free to mail me links or tools for calculating power demands for other manufacturers (I've asked HP about this for EVA but had no response so far).

The truth is, most eletricity generating companies are out to make money and giving organisations rebates for using less of their products makes no business sense. Where there are constraints on offering a service, then perhaps rebates or other incentives can do good, but this is not the norm and won't be replicated as a model across the rest of the US or the world.

As an organisation, you can do all the power calculations yourself. It isn't hard and it isn't hard to validate expected power draw against reality by getting one of your electricians to double check power consumption of a particular piece of hardware.

I'd urge all the vendors to make their power tools transparent and available. I would also urge them to incorporate KVA/cooling figures into their management tools.

In the meantime, read the links above and see how pointless Conserve IT is.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Off The Grid

I've been on holiday for the last week (sunning myself and the family in Cyprus). I had no Internet access - not even TV! Although I had no laptop (or Blackberry this time) I did take my iPod Touch, now configured with the mobile version of NewsGator. As I've mentioned previously, I have a 100+ RSS feeds (which I'll publish once I get around to it) on storage and others. My backlog was about 2500 entries, so I decided to challenge myself to get up to date and read as much as possible. Clearly I didn't read them all (there were plenty that could be skipped) but I read most and it provides for an interesting cross section...

EMC - blogs are run like a military machine; co-ordinating the news relating to new product releases and mercilessly hammering the competition. EMC have more storage bloggers than any other storage company and there are some good ones out there - one of my favourites is Information Playground by Steve Todd, where he discusses the design of Clariion.

Netapp - follows a close second to EMC with lots of bloggers and lots of competitor bashing. I particularly like Alex McDonald's postings.

IBM - doing a great job running the "resistance", fighting back against the continual onslaught of Barry (A Burke). Check out Barry (Whyte) and Tony Pearson. I'd like to see more from IBM though, especially their product developers working on DS arrays and XIV.

HDS - A jolly good bloke, but not really a player in the blogosphere. Only Hu contributes regularly, but doesn't engage in any serious debate.

Sun - quite literally on another planet with their storage strategy!

Dell - bought some toys, but doesn't know how to play with them. Unfortunately the older boy who could help them play with them has left...

Now there are more companies out there and I don't think I have any blog links from Brocade, 3Par, Compellent, Emulex, Qlogic, Pillar and others although I may be wrong (it is getting late). Any RSS link offerings gladly welcome - although I might not get around to reading them before my next holiday!