The storage wars of the mid/late 2000s were fairly legendary, at least that was my take on it from an outsiders viewpoint. There was a period from around 2008-2011 where it went pretty hot and heavy, with the various corporate bloggers/evangelists of the various factions EMC, Netapp, HP, HDS, IBM, and even “independent” bloggers throwing their lot in with trying to muddy the waters. What made it entertaining from an outsider’s view was the concentrated effort to FUD up a blogger’s comments section with “anonymous” posts. The various warriors would inject themselves into various discussions and then flame wars, trolling, and FUD would be the order of battle. Then oddly there came a period of quiet between the major players. I’m not saying it went away completely, you tend to see it from the old guard whose business is being eaten away by the new upstarts, and also as a means of generating buzz for the upstarts products at the expense of the legacy vendors pitfalls or mis-steps.
Those of us on the vendor side of technology are accustomed to a certain level of open battle that takes place between vendors. FUD for all its misery is still a tried and true tactic, and this is none more true than in the space of Enterprise Storage. Competitive “Battle Cards” are released to the troops, and tend to be one of the first line weapons deployed from the Sales teams. Next up comes the landmines set in RFP’s, and then the nuclear option, massive cost reductions. To me, these are part and parcel of technical sales, and while they may seem dirty to the outsider, in the end competition is to the benefit of the consumer.
The recent slate of storage based startups have brought the FUD wars back front and center, except now I’ve seen the focus turn a bit more personal in its scope. Sure startups would punch well above their weight, and push forward with the “David/Goliath” messaging, and frankly I can see a logical reason to move in that direction. For some though, everything is personal. Everything is a chance to stomp the other guy, or throw dirt. The ability to simply agree to disagree does not exist, and at its worst, the attacks become personal in nature and are completely non-related to anything technical. Also, there tends to be a rash of fake twitter accounts aka “sock puppets” used to astroturf against competitors. I find this to be childish, petty, and generally a sign of an insecure individual(s). Frankly I’d like to see those accounts stopped and the owners exposed.
So this week on SNLDD we are going to discuss a few things: (click to left for event page)
- What’s considered “fair game” in competition
- Why go “personal” and is there any benefit to doing so
- What crosses the line
- Sockpuppets, fake accounts, and general douchebaggery
- Can’t we all just get along?