Written by W. Curtis Preston
Monday, 29 September 2008 14:14
Most of my recent blog activity has been spent commenting on other people's blogs. Specifically, vendor blogs. It takes some serious chutzpah
, and you have to be very respectful (even if you don't feel like doing so), but it can be very rewarding as well. This blog entry talks about some of the blogs I've been commenting on and why.
Vendor blogs are interesting. Company A allows Person A to have a blog, but doesn't censor, nor endorse, what they say. (FWIW, the same is true of backupcentral.com. See my employer's disclaimer on the left.) It allows the blogger some freedom to be a bit more, shall we say, out there
, without opening the company up to any liability. In most cases, the blog entries aren't looked at by legal, edited by any editors, etc. Just like my blog, I write something, I click Publish
, and voila!
I treat vendor blogs as a printed version of a sales rep talking to me. I expect the sales rep to tell me all the best things about their product and none of the bad. I expect them to try to bash the competition at some point (although I don't like it when they do), but I also believe that the best source about their competition isn't them; it's their competition. So when they tell me that the other vendor's blood is green, I don't believe them. I grab the nearest sales rep and prick them with a needle and look very closely.
I use a vendor's blog to find out what that vendor is thinking. What flavor is their kool aid? You can learn a lot about vendor's products by what they say and what they don't say. (Like when I read a vendor blog that tells me that one of the reasons that you might not want to dedupe all data is if it's restore speed matters. That tells me that there's apparently a major difference in restore speed between deduped and non-deduped data for their systems. I'll have to look into that.)
Also, when I'm reading a vendor blog (or any blog for that matter), I'm not expecting scholarly research or verification of facts. It's a blog
. (I'd put Wiki entries on a slightly higher level, as at least they can be fact checked and edited by others if they choose to do so.) The only fact checking we get with the blog is the comments.
Speaking of comments, I'm a purist. I think comments shouldn't be censored, except for the obvious spam or curse words. But not all vendor bloggers agree with me. Most of them require approval of comments before going on line. (Both of the EMC blogs & the Data Domain blog I'm commenting on do that.) And some of them (specifically the two EMC bloggers) have admitted to screening certain bloggers' comments if they find them "personal attacks," or whatever. Their thought is, "it's my blog and I set the rules." They seem to let most comments through (not only positive ones), but they shut you down if they think you're being rude. The secret, it seems, to getting your comments through on the EMC blogs is to remain civil, attacking the message without attacking the messenger or the company he/she works for. That, and it helps to not work at NetApp.
(That's a joke
, OK, Chuck & Scott?)
So, on to the blogs I've been reading and commenting on and what I think about them.
- EMC: http://chucksblog.emc.com
- Storage-related blog from EMC VP Global Marketing CTO, Chuck Hollis. Chuck is an unabashed support of EMC. I find most of his stuff pretty interesting, but he does occasionally make some rather odd assertions to make his point, such as when he suggested that RAID 5 with a global hot spare was somehow equivalent to RAID 6.
- My big complaint about Chuck's blog is that he's a comment blocker. If he doesn't like how you're saying something, he'll block you. (There's someone at NetApp that's currently blocked. I'm going to guess it's Val.) And yet, at the same time he'll take advantage of the unrestricted commentability of NetApp's site. I just don't think that's playing fair.
- It's when he starts talking about NetApp, though, that you need to put your BS filter on high. His knowledge of how NetApp's work and what their customers do with them is very limited and comes mainly (it seems) from documentation. Therefore, when he starts extrapolating and making conclusions about how NetApp's must work (based on their documentation), he sometimes draws conclusions that no NetApp-savvy person would agree with. If you want to see what I'm talking about, get yourself an hour or so of free time, and read this series of blog posts (and all the comments from me, Stephen Foskett, and NetApp's Val Bercoviki):
- Your Usable Capacity May Vary
- Updates to the Capacity Post
- A Final Update -- Storage Capacity Efficiency
- Odds and Ends (Or as I called it, one more final update.)
- Another Year, Another Blogoversary (or as I called it, Let me pick take one more jab at NetApp on this capacity thing.)
- EMC: http://thebackupblog.typepad.com
- Backup-related blog by Scott Waterhouse, EMC SE. Chuck's a techy, and talks techy -- and I like that. He understands techy things, like the fact that RAID 6 is better than RAID 5. In fact, in an opposing post to Chuck's post (another blogger from his own company), he berated NetApp for not having RAID 6 in their VTL. Funny that he was arguing the exact opposite of Chuck's blog at almost the same time, huh?
- Scott's best information is when he's explaining how things work and why, often resorting to math to prove his point, as in his recent post about dedupe and replication speed. He does a really good job showing how an EMC dedupe box would compare to a Data Domain dedupe box when looking at overall backup and replication time, even though Data Domain is an inline box and they're a post-process box.
- Scott also blocks comments he doesn't like, and continues to comment on the blog of the person he's blocked, as they'll allow him to post. Again, not a fan of that particular practice.
- Scott is also no NetApp lover, and some of the flame wars that have gone on between them have been nothing short of all out war. From what I've read, neither side escapes some of them unblemished.
- Data Domain: http://dedupematters.com
- Brian Biles is a founder of Data Domain, and this is a relatively new blog. One thing I can tell you is that he, unlike the first two bloggers that I've talked to, seems willing to go back and actually edit a post when he's wrong. The EMC bloggers tend to leave the original post in its entirety, even if part of it is completely wrong.
- The Data Domain blogs don't allow comments at this time. That's one way to go. Just block everyone.
- NetApp: http://blogs.netapp.com/exposed/
- NetApp-related blog from Val Bercoviki, NetApp CTO-at-large. This blog talks about all things NetApp, often using tongue-in-cheek humor and a lot of movie references to make his points. (The humor doesn't always go over very well when he's talking about others. Consider these posts:
- Val does not censor or even approve comments. They go in immediately after typing.
- SEPATON: http://www.aboutrestore.com/
- Another new blog from Jay Livens, SEPATON Marketing. The title is implying that their product, unlike others, focuses on restore performance. (I told them that maybe they should start advertising deduped restore performance, then. They claim to have good numbers, but they're not on the shiny sheets. We'll see how they respond.) He's putting his spin on things and commenting on other vendors' blogs and what they're saying about themselves and SEPATON's products.
- Jay also was open to editing a post when it was factually incorrect. I haven't commented on his blog yet, so I don't know if he's a filterer or not.
And there you have it: the reason I haven't posted in a while. I'm too busy commenting on other people's blogs!