I am writing to you again this year. I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in the storage newsletter, it's so." He is an IT director. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? If there is, please give him this wish list from Papa.
I would really like the following for Christmas. If that is not possible, I would be glad to accept them for Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Arbor Day or Midsummer Night's Eve.
- For the employees of Symantec and Veritas: A smooth transition as the two companies merge their cultures.
- For the customers of Symantec and Veritas: The hope that those companies can merge their product lines so that compatibility is there where it is needed, and interoperability is there where it is required.
- For the engineers at Sun: Seemingly, while nobody was looking, Sun refreshed and strengthened its storage line. Let's wish the engineers a marketing department that can provide them with a less stealthy approach to supporting product rollout and market entry. As for their marketing team - Nice going on keeping the secret, guys.
- For small business owners and managers of remote offices: A back-up appliance that can be installed locally, is mostly self-configuring, has an installation wizard that takes the user right up to the point where the machine comes online, requires no management over the course of a year, and costs about as much as one of the PCs it supports.
- For young girls everywhere: Barbi's IT Fun House, a new toy available just in time for holiday gift giving that will provide them with a sense of how much fun they can have if they set their sights on careers in the computer room.
- For Roy, a systems integrator in the U.S.: A fair and independent third-party analysis showing head-to-head comparisons of storage-area network performance (2G-bit Fibre Channel) vs. DAS performance (Ultra 320 SCSI). If any of my readers can help with this, I'll make sure Santa delivers it to him.
- For Kurt, a senior storage consultant in Australia: Clients who understand that strategic planning is frequently of much more use before implementations than after. Also, may he have more time to e-mail to his friends.
- For a very deserving storage analyst, who also writes a newsletter for Network World: More correspondence from readers in exotic places like Fiji, east Africa, and India. Vicarious travel to such places, after all, is always better than business travel.
- For enterprise storage buyers: A standard set of definitions for such terms as on-demand," "utility computing" and "grid."
- For all of us: A teddy bear. These always seem to help. Really.
- For corporate road warriors: Automated back-up and recovery services for their laptops that run when they are traveling. First, a policy should define when a backup is to be done. Then, a small agent or client on their machines should sense for an Internet connection and, when one is identified, should provide services in the background that upload data to the back-up server. There is too much corporate data that is off the server and is - for the most part - being ignored when it comes to receiving basic IT services.
- For the vendors who are offering solutions based on storage virtualization: A good dose of enough common sense. Then perhaps they will realize that the debate over in-band/out-of-band performance is much less important to IT managers than is the question of "Can I manage it cheaply?" Operational expenses are where the savings are, guys. These days it has to be all about the business.
- For the managers doing their IT budgets for next year: Maintenance agreements from their vendors that don't try to gouge them for more than 20% of the purchase price per year; 15%-18% in most cases is more than reasonable.
- For the managers doing their IT budgets for next year: The ability to manage maintenance agreements intelligently by looking at the whole of IT maintenance as a single system. For example, if they have just spent a fortune on replication technology, may they have the wisdom to downgrade the maintenance contract on their storage servers from their present two-hour platinum service to the astonishingly cheaper next-day lead service. Do the math.
- For all of us: May the vendors supply us with tech manuals that don't remind me of reading an old Unix man page.
- And finally, may everyone who attends your department's holiday party be successful in suppressing the apparently primal urge to photocopy parts of their bodies that none of us really wanted to see in the first place.
Santa, my wants are simple. Unfortunately, of late your gifts haven't helped me keep up with the technology curve. Please do what you can.
Milk and cookies are in the usual place, under the raised floor panel by the UPS.
P.S. Please don't smoke your pipe in the computer room. We are all sorry about that business with the Halon last year.