In 2011 I was at VMworld and spent a lot of time at the solutions exchange visiting all the storage vendors. At the time I was the primary storage and virtualization administrator at my company and this was my first VMworld. I wanted to make the best of it from the standpoint of visiting all the vendors on the floor and investigating technologies that I thought would benefit my organization in the future. To me this is one of the stronger values of a show like VMworld where so many different vendors of all sizes are located in a single condensed area. It was always impressive to see the big name players like EMC, Netapp, Hitachi, IBM, HP, etc. and their giant booths staffed with a dozen engineers discussing their legacy technologies. And then there were the small 6 foot wide booths way in the back with two to three people standing and waiting to speak to anyone who would pass by.
In 2011,one of those booths was Tintri. I probably spent 30 minutes speaking with their Kieran Harty (who at the time I had no idea was their Founder) on the floor where he walked me through the platform, how it worked,and why he thought it would be a disruptive force in the VMware ecosystem. While impressed with what I saw, my old school storage mindset precluded me from fully realizing the potential. “NFS only” would pose a problem, the lack of RDM’s for larger data volumes would present a problem, the small form factor couldn’t possibly be able to deliver the IO profile that shelves of disks could provide, the lack of visibility into the underlying disk where the data was located was “troubling”. Of course in the technology world, 2 years can be an eternity. How little I knew at that time what the true benefits ultimately would be. Higher performance without the need of shelves of disks, simple datatstore creation and management, no need for a complex collection of LUNs, Fibre Channel HBA’s, Zones, and Switches. In all honesty, my own prejudices and biases (aka, my storage admin mindset) prevented me at the time from seeing the full potential of the platform.
If only to drive home the point that my own prejudices were short sighted and somewhat foolish, this year at VMworld, Tintri is a Platinum Sponsor. That to me is validation of the platform.
So as I continue down my own journey of being a member of a “small start-up” company, I have to remind myself that like how I perceived Tintri in 2011, many of the administrators, engineers, and IT professionals that I will discuss the Hyper-Converged technology offerings that I work with will also have their own preconceived notions, biases, and prejudices based on their experiences. They will have years of deployments that follow that standard reference architecture model, and the collection of boxes running specific workloads that should be essentially abstracted away from their view and provided as part of a standard data center building block. The huge CAPEX, the dozen management consoles, the cables, the wasted power and cooling, much of it, essentially wasted resources.
The preconceived notions, and biases are a challenge to overcome. It’s something that many in the technology spectrum need to be purposefully mindful of as they move into the realm where the technology we present and champion represents a similar level of change and disruption to the “Status Quo” which I so often must battle as my chief competitor.
So if you see me at a VMUG event, or at this coming VMworld, make sure you swing by and say hi, and lets have a conversation about how the modern datacenter is going to change, how you can understand the benefits of that change, and how you can use that knowledge as an advantage within your organization.