Thoughts #2

by dave on February 19, 2008

So, in an effort to simplify my life, i’ve taken to keeping the subject lines on my posts as simple as possible (well, that an the fact that I’m usually responding to 15 different blogs within the context of one big post). Today, I’ll try to break things out as cleanly as I can. Deal?

Storagezilla: Where PCs go to Die
Grand title, as you’re aware and I definitely feel that there are two different threads to take a look at. Like Storagezilla, I maintain an active subscription to National Geographic. In last month’s issue, there was an article regarding computer disposal and the accompanying issues that arise once your Mac/PC/Whatever are picked up at the curb.  The most damning information came forth regarding where your electronic waste is ending up; typically, in 3rd world countries (sovreign African nations most notably) with little to no import restrictions in place regarding hazardous material.  To put this into context (as Storagezilla so notably explains), we’re having a little issue with a US Spy satellite that has 1,000 pounds of Hydrazine in its fuel cells.  All this furor is being created about the relative toxicity of Hydrazine when, just a scant 5,000 miles away from the US, we have millions of folks that are being exposed to hazardous fumes, lead, mercury, and any other number of chemicals/carcinogens that can (and do) cause birth defects, cancer, etc.  While I won’t go so far as to say “Don’t buy a computer,” I think that Green Peace (toxicity report is here) is on to something by releasing toxicity reports for some mainstream consumer electronic gadgets.  So, what can we do?

The answer is both simple and complex.  The simplistic approach dictates mandated recycling programs that keep commercial, consumer, enterprise “trash” within the US (or host country).  Tax the hell out of the things if you need to maintain the programs but, constrict the ability of exporters to dump our waste to other locales.  The complex answer is…well, tighten export controls on electronic waste, audit recycling companies for compliance to federal/international “waste” standards (RoHS, et al.), tax the hell out of consumer electronic waste (even $5.00 per sale of every computing system would be enough, I’m sure), and actually MONITOR the process.   Not to turn this political at all, but this is a bipartisan matter that won’t survive if it’s strictly a Republican or Democratic or Green Party thing.


Rough Type: EMC’s “very massive” Storage Cloud

So, this is a new blog that I got turned on to (the leap came from Storagezilla to O’Reilly Radar to Rough Type) has a lead article on EMC’s Cloud storage initiative. While Nick Carr spends most of the blog post regurgitating news from Chuck Hollis, I did find it refreshing to read the following comment:

“Like other traditional IT component suppliers, EMC sees cloud computing as both
threat and opportunity. On the one hand, it could put a large dent into
individual businesses’ demand for on-site storage systems, EMC’s bread and
butter. On the other hand, somebody has to build and run the storage cloud, and
EMC has the scale and expertise to be a big player in this new business.” (Nick Carr)

Quite simply, Cloud storage (if that’s the defined term that we’re using) is a natural extension of Software as a Service and Storage as a Service (both are SaaS, right? 😉 ).  EMC’s first foray into this world was through the acquisition of Mozy and now, with a more SMB focus in hand, they’re moving to other avenues of the “as a Service” model.  The purported integration with SAP, for example, would promote the Software service end, while EMC quite easily could pickup the Storage service end.  Is it a perfect union? Time will really tell, but, like Amazon found out, service based storage/grid/etc. isn’t a bed of roses. What EMC needs to plan for (similar to any array that they manufacture) is redundancy, availability, and performance.  Literally, we need to practice what we preach when it comes to the deliverables. We’re constantly injecting ourselves into the customer’s ILM strategies and advising them on best practices, but if we can’t implement them ourselves (and at a wider scale than we have ever done), we’re hypocrites of the greatest kind.  I’ll leave it up to the smarter people I work with the figure that mechanism of protection out, but…let it be known that the world’s gauntlet has been thrown in our direction.


I’ll update later as time permits.



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