Weight loss revisited.

I wrote some time ago …24 April 2009, to be exact …about my challenges with weight and new initiatives using to lose four and a half stone to get to a slim new me by 09 September 2009. I won’t go into further depth about how and why I wanted to do this, although you can click here to read the archived Weekly View discussing this if you wish.

By way of an update, as 09 September has well and truly come and gone,I have had very mixed results. I had a full medical workup prior to starting and, whilst no specific problems were noted at the time by my doctor, it was observed that my blood pressure was a bit higher than it should be and …I should lose weight. I thanked him for his sage advice and got on with it. Five months on and my test results are marginally better, I feel a bit better than I did …but my clothes don’t feel significantly looser, I still have my dreaded moobs, and I haven’t lost anything like the amount of weight I set out to.

I won’t deny that I am somewhat frustrated by this, but I’m not one to sit idly by without analysing how I got here …or didn’t, in this case… and what to do to get back on track.

In its simplest terms, what does one have to do to actually lose weight? Well, wouldn’t it be a great excuse for not losing any weight if this were a complicated equation, but it really ain’t …[Reduce Caloric Intake] + [Increase Metabolic Output] = Lose Weight. Put even more simply …eat less, exercise more, shed the pounds. Whilst I have at times considered a ‘radical’ diet, such as a liquid diet for a few weeks or even months, I know that this isn’t really the answer. Given the equation above, simply cutting out the odd Krispy Kreme I’ve eaten …mmmmm, Krispy Kreme!… and reducing the odd gin and slimline or glasses of wine will reduce the caloric intake even further. But that isn’t the part of the equation with the problem, so loading that up isn’t really going to help. Nope, I need to increase my metabolic output …or, put simply again… get off my lardy backside and get into the gym as, the last time I checked, geeking out on my MacBook Air and creating home NAS devices with 802.11n weren’t considered contact sports.

What does this have to do with Data Storage & Protection?

I have been a member of a gym for almost eighteen months now, so the hardest bit …joining… is already done. The real challenge lies in actually going to the gym or, more to the point …making time in my diary to do so. In what I suspect is not an uncommon or isolated challenge for me alone, finding time to the gym when one works and has a family can be very challenging indeed. However, the gym doesn’t really care if I show up or not and will continue to take £50 from my account each month. Given I’ve been to the gym about three times in the last six months, I make that almost £100 a trip. Ouch. On the other hand, if I went three times a week as the doctor has suggested …that would work out to £4.16 a trip. And I would be healthier. And I probably wouldn’t have moobs any longer. And I would likely be around a lot longer for PL Junior as well as Mrs. PL getting to dress me in new slimmer togs.

So what we have here is a low utilisation problem and I am paying way too much for my gym. This is a challenge that our customers face as well, and I have yet to meet a customer who is completely happy with their storage utilisation. We know that, on average, a customer reaps just 40% utilisation out of their storage yet, just as I have to pay full whack for my gym membership, so they have to pay for 100% of their storage infrastructure whether they are using it all or not.

What to do? I won’t wax lyrical about how great data deduplication is …although it is and works a treat in backup environments …nor will I bore you silly talking about thin provisioning, zero page reclamation, universal connectivity, or grid storage. They are all fantastic solutions …nay, features… which warrant Weekly Views in their own right and do play a major part in solving the challenge of low storage utilisation.

It can certainly be a fairly complicated discussion, but, just as I know that balancing an equation will help me lose weight, one of the surest ways I know in helping a customer work through this potential minefield is by using the Computacenter consultative equation. [ROI] + [CBA] + [DPB] = Composite Solution Score …Return on Investment + Cost Benefit Analysis + Disruption to Production Business = Composite Solution Score. How quickly will I recoup my investment, how much money will I save, can I implement in a ‘cost neutral’ manner are but some of the questions that this equation helps us to solve.

Before I talk about one place where we’re using this equation today, I should mention that we employ this equation when working with all of our Tier One vendor partners and use both the Carnegie Mellon Capability Maturity Model and IDC Storage v3.0 criteria to help reach accurate scores …in other words, what I’m about to say would also work with HDS, EMC, IBM, or HP given different customer criteria.

That said, one of the more interesting projects on the go right now using this equation is a campaign and project we are running with NetApp and F5 for a major customer in Scotland. This customer already knows the great ROI and CBA they can reap from server virtualisation, but with a storage infrastructure stretching into the petabytes the next question was how to achieve the same with storage. We are currently executing a storage assessment and analysing the environment to show how, by consolidating a majority of their servers and much of the existing storage supporting these servers to a NetApp NAS environment, we will save ££ by reducing power, cooling, storage management and so on. And you may be thinking, why NetApp and not someone else? Well, to be fair, we did the initial indicative analysis using this customer’s specific issues and a comparative vendor matrix derived from the [ROI] + [CBA] + [DPB] and NetApp consistently came out on top as their technology which includes thin provisioning, universal connectivity, et al which result in particularly high ROI and CBA scores for this customer.

Put simply, we have been able to show our customer how we can help them increase their storage utilisation to save money both now and for the life of the storage deployment.

And as for me, I’m off to review my diary and make sure I get to the gym and increase my utilisation to lose weight.

Have a great weekend and, as always, please contact me if you feel we can help you save money with your storage.

-Matthew

Click here to contact me.

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