Have you ever heard the expression “The only thing not being created anymore is time”? I used to hear that often growing up. Back then it made little sense to me but as I got older, married, started a career and then had kids it seems that the hours in the day are shrinking and shrinking. It’s amazing !! This has drifted over to my career. It seems I have more “work” projects then I have hours in the day to get done, which means I spend lots of after work hours trying to play catch up. When I worked in the datacenter, this was always the case as well. I learned a new phrase a few years back called Non-Recoverable Engineering time (NRE). NRE can be summarized with “All that crap that you need to do that has little to no value to the bottom line”. I think we can all agree that our lives (personal and professional) are full of NRE’s 🙂
Remember back in the good old days, when we seemed to have all the time in the world? If you were “nerdy” you’ve probably at some point in your life built your own PC. Remember, all the fun it was to do the research on the best mobos, procs, memory, disk drives etc. You probably spent weeks debating the latest processor and the cost difference between model numbers. You would pull together the list of things you wanted, then figure out your budget doesn’t even cover half so you start trying to figure out how to swizzle all sorts of things around. Then you would spend a marathon weekend pulling it all together hoping everything worked, looking for updated drivers, cursing up a storm and then after a week (or two) everything was running great. It was probably a month’s worth of effort !! I did a few of these in my life so I got pretty good at it. In fact, today I could knock it out in about a week’s worth of time (research, order, put together etc). But I haven’t built a PC in 10+ years, in the grand scheme of things on my “ToDo” list I just couldn’t justify the time and effort it took to pull all of that together. Building a PC was what I would call a MAJOR Non-Recoverable Engineering (or Daddy) time suck.
So fast-forward to today. I really needed (wanted) a new laptop. My work one just wasn’t cutting it and I’ve wanted to jump on the Apple bandwagon for a while. In this case, I decided to go to a MacBook Air. I went with the 4GB memory, 256GB SSD HD and upgraded processor because those were my choices. I could have chosen a bigger/faster laptop but this was more than enough to meet my needs and it’s perfect for all the travel I do. This system had a VERY low NRE hit to my life!! In fact I was out with the family when I bought it. My 9 year old son and I went to the Apple Store while my wife and 7 year old twin girls went to Justice or some other “gurlie” place like that :). Anyway, we walked out of Apple Store and sat down in the mall and started playing around with the laptop. In less than 5mins I was connected to my Mifi and was downloading tweetdeck and all the other software tools I wanted!! It was awesome. I took what would have been an all week affair, locked in my home office putting everything together, to less than an hour to go to the mall, go to the apple store, pay for it and start using it.
So hopefully you are seeing my point. It really boils down to how to reduce all of that “Non-Recoverable Engineering time”. For those that are struggling with “What exactly is a Vblock” or “Vblock vs NetApp FlexPod”or “what is the value of Vblock” then consider my MacBook Air a sort of Vblock. I can choose from a few different models (Air vs. Pro) but at the end of the day it’s about getting more of my “time” back. Sure I have the core competency to build my own computer, just like your teams can build their own reference-architecture solutions (VMware + Cisco UCS + EMC or NetApp) but in the grand scheme of things, there are probably a ton of other projects they could be focused on. Not to mention, one of the LARGEST NREs is the care and feeding of the system once it’s installed. Firmware upgrades are an example I discussed in this blog. The time and effort it takes to do the research each time Cisco, VMware or any other device/hardware manufacture updates their firmware can be a HUGE NRE time suck !! With Vblock, VCE has done all that work for you. What you get is a complete tested, integrated, validated, 1 single pane of glass to manage, 1 support number converged infrastructure solution !!
A picture is worth a thousand words right?
Tried and true Reference-Architecture – This could be EMC + VMware +Cisco UCS and/or NetApp FlexPOD but either way, we’ve been doing this for many many years. Best of breed technology (Some assembly required) – this is what shows up in your datacenter.
Or you can consider how the Vblock arrives at your datacenter.
Any questions ? 🙂