Drinking rubbish wine and deploying silos will both kill you in the end.

Life is too short to drink crap wine.

In saying that, it is important to read that sentence carefully …I didn’t say ‘Life is too short to drink cheap wine’, or ‘LIfe is too short to drink any wine under £20 a bottle’.


I said, ‘Life is too short to drink crap wine.’

I’ve discussed my love of wine, wine production, pretty well all things wine at some point or another in this blog and please let me reiterate …this is not about to become a ‘wine snob’ post nor a ‘wine snob’ blog.

Frankly, wine snobs bore me and, to be fair, I have had bottles of wine which retail for *cough* erm well …a lot …that I thought were crap every bit as much as I have had £4 bottles which I loved.  Equally, I’ve got plenty of other topics I could choose from to bore you without having to resort to wine snobbery …such as listening to live air traffic control from around the world on my iPod with headphones when Mrs. PL and PL Junior are asleep.  And that’s for starters.  Don’t act all surprised …you knew I was a geek of the highest order of technowwenism when you met me.

But back to wine.  See, there’s an awful lot of thought and talent which goes into making a bottle of wine …where to grow to capture the ‘terroir’, what kind of grapes to grow, when to plant, when to harvest …how much of the harvest to use …age in stainless steel or wooden barrels before bottling, if wood what kind of wood, when to bottle …you get the point.

Now …do you care?  As it happens, I do care and am happy to read/research, taste, visit wineries, blah blah.  But does the average punter give a badger’s backside?  I’m guessing a resounding no.

I think the average person …if they’re in the mood for wine …wants to buy a quality bottle of wine at the best cost they can.  The rest is, as they say, commentary.

To that end there are sommeliers in just about every restaurant you go to help you select a wine for your meal, and Masters of Wine who go through some seriously intensive training to achieve accreditation and then work in the wine industry …many MoW are employed as winemakers to make all of the difficult decisions above such that you get a quality bottle of wine at a decent price.  Just walk in (or log on) and buy a bottle or two you fancy, open, enjoy!

What’s this got to do with Data Storage and Protection?

I am convinced that, as with wine, people like simplicity and transparency when making decisions and would prefer to consume a finished product as opposed to being forced to cobble things together.

Fancy planting vines, hand plucking the harvest, and stomping grapes just to have a nice drop with dinner tonight?  Yeah, me neither.

Since my posts about the virtualised datacentre and the impact VDCs will likely have on corporate technology, I’ve had quite a few queries and comments with many querying ‘just what is a VDC and how is it different to the way we consume IT today’ so I thought I would have a go at explaining some of this whilst I’m waiting for our bottle of claret to breathe for tonight’s dinner.

1.   By 2012, 20% of organisations/businesses will own no IT assets. This is a recent statistic from Gartner and it certainly has the ‘wow’ factor as it would seem to indicate that business consumption of cloud based technology will accelerate.  I generally agree with that statement, but I feel that hype, security concerns, and a lack of demonstrable cost benefit over an extended period of time have all played a part in customers taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to moving IT functions into the cloud.  Virtualised datacentres [VDCs] give us a ‘bridge’ to private/public/federate cloud of the not to distant tomorrow whilst giving us demonstrable cost savings today and in perpetuity.

2.  Virtualised Datacentres [VDCs] are integrated solution stacks. VDCs, and they come in many flavours … VCE vBlock, VCN NetApp Virtualise Anything, IBM Dynamic Infrastructure, HP Converged Infrastructure or indeed some other ‘open flavour’ comprised of multiple vendors …are designed to work at a greatly reduced cost over traditional siloed architectures much in the same way as the bottle of wine we discussed earlier.  A VDC has server compute, server virtualisation, network and network virtualisation, storage, and automation all a single contiguous unit which works as such.  In the past we would have sought to find best of breed server, best of breed hypervisor, best of breed network, best of breed storage …all at the ‘right‘ price …coupled with the complexity of all of the decisions required for each component selection …and whacked them together and hoped they worked.  Is it any wonder why we get such low utilisation and high support / total cost of ownership challenges from traditional architectures?

3.  VDCs are largely comprised of technologies which we use and deploy today. Much as our competitors may try to convince customers otherwise, VDCs are not made of special plutonium 239 isotopes sold in exclusive lead lined boxes.  Rather, they are blueprint reference architecture designs made up largely of existing components [e.g. Cisco UCS blades, Cisco MDS network fabric, Cisco Nexus, VMware, IONIX, and EMC vMax] which are compiled by a service provider such as Computacenter to work as an integrated unit.  The key difference is the VDC is designed to allow for consumption as a unit as opposed to each component being consumed separately.  For example, a the unit would automatically deploy everything required for project manager to run a new application …server, network, storage, etc.

4.  Virtualisation on its own is not a workload, it is an enabler and component technology of a VDC. But I’ve already got VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V, so I guess I don’t need a VDC?  Not quite.  VMware and server/desktop virtualisation is certainly a key component of a VDC …but so is network virtualisation, universal server compute, storage and storage virtualisation, automation …you get the picture.  Equally, the question shouldn’t be ‘how much VMware can I run on a VDC’ as VMware isn’t a workload …an application is.  So the question should be, ‘how many applications, users, at what response speed, over what distance, and at what cost per user’ can said VDC support.

5.  Why take two small steps forward which will unlikely cover the chasm you seek to breach when a large leap has a higher probability of success? It may be that you don’t have the budget to implement or migrate to a VDC today, but working with service providers such as Computacenter we can show you just exactly how you would demonstrably reduce costs both in the immediate and in perpetuity.  Armed with this information, why not ‘draw a line in the sand’ to make the leap which will slash costs and plan implementation/migration of VDC components today with a view to full VDC integration sooner rather than later?  Isolated small steps such as server virtualisation or  storage virtualisation could be far more useful as part of a greater ‘march to VDC’ strategy.

As always, please contact me directly if you would like a VDC demonstration or help in taking the VDC journey.

Have a great weekend,


Click here to contact me.


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