For the love of IPOD...



  • This is a rant.

    So there's this company, I'll just call them Company X. They provision and deploy networks and devices for lots and lots of clients. ~95% of clients follow the same model for their shared storage. That is a single SAN which has LUNs for user shares, VMs, everything.

    When I brought this to someone's attention, I was told that was standard so I started asking higher level people and was told "they're fine, we built in redundancy". I then said "well yeah the SAN has dual controllers, and there are redundant switches... but what if the SAN fails? The whole box fails." I was asked "how often have you EVER saw a SAN fail? I mean a good SAN." .... Three actually. One was a Tintri, one was a Compellent, the other was an Equallogic.

    In the end I was told "NO customer of ours can afford two SANs, they can often barely afford one. What you're suggesting is buying two SANs, or not having any SAN at all?" Exactly. Put in as much redundancy as you want, but there's still a single point of failure. The SAN.

    I mean you don't need redundancy all over the place, as not every customer would require that much redundancy. But all shared storage and no redundancy? Pretty careless.

    Put in as much redundancy as you want, but there's still a single point of failure. The SAN.



  • Yeah, it's why it's called an IPOD.



  • That dependency chain is only as awesome as the underlying storage.

    Which in this case just happens to be a single box.



  • @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    In the end I was told "NO customer of ours can afford two SANs, they can often barely afford one. What you're suggesting is buying two SANs, or not having any SAN at all?"

    /commission inc



  • Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.



  • @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?



  • @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Ha, not if you're commission based. . . obviously you don't want to eat.



  • @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Ha, not if you're commission based. . . obviously you don't want to eat.

    Good point. I've seen some great recipes for baked air lately...



  • @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Funny... I actually did bring that up, and was told since nobody has heard of them, then they probably weren't very good. I thought they were joking, but they weren't.



  • @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Funny... I actually did bring that up, and was told since nobody has heard of them, then they probably weren't very good. I thought they were joking, but they weren't.

    Lol, they are pretty much doing what Microsoft left out and should have done....

    Not only that, but the StarWind stuff is highly compatible and integration to Microsoft products is highly supported. It seems like they are working with MVPs who specialize in in Hyper-V, System Center, etc... and who also write guides for using StarWind with that stuff.

    In fact, I'm reading a new 600 page book (Hyper-V 2016) by one of StarWinds Microsoft's MVPs.... Charbel Nemnom.


  • Service Provider

    @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    So there's this company, I'll just call them Company X.

    Let's be honest, it's you, right? 😉


  • Service Provider

    @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    In the end I was told "NO customer of ours can afford two SANs, they can often barely afford one. What you're suggesting is buying two SANs, or not having any SAN at all?"

    Did you respond with "of course I'm saying to have no SAN at all, why would you think any SAN was acceptable?"

    Hit them with incredulity, it goes a long way. Remind them that vendors like VMware, Red Hat, Citrix and Microsoft themselves ONLY make non-SAN high availability options. There is no hypervisor on the market, so no matter what vendor they trust, that vendor has its own RLS solution.


  • Service Provider

    @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Funny... I actually did bring that up, and was told since nobody has heard of them, then they probably weren't very good. I thought they were joking, but they weren't.

    No one has heard of them... except, you know, everyone.


  • Service Provider

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    I think selling a vendor here (selling meaning promoting or mentioning) hurts. It's not vendor A vs. vendor B, it's one architecture vs. another. Sell the concept, not a vendor. Then you can't have them say that no one has heard of it, because who is going to admit they've never heard of people like Microsoft or VMware?



  • Name the company...


  • Service Provider

    @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Name the company...

    Bring on the shame 🙂



  • @scottalanmiller

    @scottalanmiller said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Name the company...

    Bring on the shame 🙂

    I used to work for a small MSP in the UK called FOS.Net. Spoke to them about Starwind before and moving away from the node + SAN approach... they basically said no as "We've not had one fail before, and nobody here knows Starwind, so we will stick with what we know." - I knew Starwind otherwise would not have brought it up at all!

    I think they just don't want to train people - hence rarely using VMs too!


  • Service Provider

    @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @scottalanmiller

    @scottalanmiller said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Name the company...

    Bring on the shame 🙂

    I used to work for a small MSP in the UK called FOS.Net. Spoke to them about Starwind before and moving away from the node + SAN approach... they basically said no as "We've not had one fail before, and nobody here knows Starwind, so we will stick with what we know." - I knew Starwind otherwise would not have brought it up at all!

    I think they just don't want to train people - hence rarely using VMs too!

    Are they really an MSP or are they secretly a VAR that makes margin on selling SANs?

    And you can charge more for managing physical servers rather than VMs, so not surprising that if they can talk customers into higher cost physicals that they would - especially if they sell the servers as well... more margins again.



  • @scottalanmiller

    They were an MSP. The selling SAN part was only a small part of what they did. Only about 200 customers, so small. But, they had their list of products and wouldn't really change from their supported model - extensive list, but static, and old. For example, the backup solution they sold to customers and installed, then managed, was file level only. Any disaster the whole server had to be rebuilt rather than an image restore. Again, because its what they knew rather than developing and using the latest tech. Makes sense for them, but bad for the tech/development and customers - That was one of the reasons I left...

    This really annoyed me; a customers server kept crashing (every few hours/daily). It was their SQL server so when that went all of their applications went down. Old kit, no longer supported by HP(E) anymore. From memory it was a 2003 box. Out of warranty etc, no service, so couldn't get them the latest packs... and no support from MS as its no longer supported. All we could do is force a reboot and wait each time. So, the customer ordered a new server. Great! (They should have anyway as it was not fit for purpose anymore for a number of reasons). They were planning to have their application vendor move the SQL instances/whatever to this new box - but that was months away...

    So, the new server turns up, I rack n stack it, and get 2012 r2 installed. Now its just sitting in the rack awaiting the vendor and the other box crashes again! I speak to my team and we agree that I will shutdown SQL server services, p2v the box, and bring up on the new host - great - work done and customer happy no ongoing failures until the vendor can come to site.

    A few months later I go back to site - one of our techs had visited when the software vendor were planned, they had turned off the VM, installed SQL Server to the physical box and are using the physical box again! Never learn! I had told them to just create a second VM, and use that. Leave the host alone. But nope! Some people just cant be trusted. I know the vendor is happy to use a VM. I expect that decision was made as the other techs were not comfortable with 'scary VM stuff'.



  • @Jimmy9008

    I'd have loved to just install Hyper-V rather than full blow 2012r2, but they would have sent me back to do it again as nobody else would have known how to troubleshoot it.


  • Service Provider

    @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @scottalanmiller

    They were an MSP. The selling SAN part was only a small part of what they did.

    It's a taint. And one that clearly drove the MSP side. It was enough that in a casual description of them, I was able to detect that their actions were totally determined by their VAR aspect, not their MSP aspect. It might feel to you that it was a small amount of what they did, but there are some good threads here about how any VAR is all VAR - it changes how you interact with customers, how you think about advice and everything that you do.

    From the description, it sounds like the VAR side determined everything that they did. Their entire support model only makes sense if they gave in to the VAR aspects and let it drive everything from servers to storage to support.


  • Service Provider

    @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Any disaster the whole server had to be rebuilt rather than an image restore. Again, because its what they knew rather than developing and using the latest tech. Makes sense for them, but bad for the tech/development and customers

    All of that can be attributed to the VAR aspects overriding the MSP concerns. An MSP services customers, a VAR does not. They are opposing forces - a fundamental conflict of interest.

    In this example here, the VAR aspect makes money by introducing disaster, it produces more stuff to sell. There is no interest in learning good tech (not modern, just good) because that would be totally opposed to the VAR nature of the business where their own best interest is what they represent, rather than the customers. In a really, really good separation business, there is a theory that you can have MSP consultants and managers with zero ties to the VAR business and no influence by it, but you'd have to have a strong central management that has no influence lower down the chain and totally separation of the two without any crossing staff. No small business can do that, making any small MSP with some VAR.... totally VAR. It influences everything.

    The VAR nature is to sell as much as can be sold for the highest possible margins. A VAR is a seller's agent, not a buyer's agent. An MSP is supposed to be on the buyer's side. In the US, there are even cases where sitting on both sides of that fence is a legal problem.


  • Service Provider

    @Jimmy9008 this thread about starting a small business ended up having some excellent discussion diving into looking at how the VAR aspect of a consulting business, no matter how small, was considered to be a conflict of interest that could not be overcome. I think that it, while long, had some great looks at both how many of us could not perceive any VAR as anything but all VAR; and how even the smallest reselling created difficulties how one things about the rest of the business. And this was on a tiny scale with extreme limitations.

    Things like selling SANs are the extreme opposite end of the scale. As we've seen from many dealings - the margins on a typical SAN sale are so extreme that a VAR can push SAN so hard as to lose 90% of potential customers but if that push sells a SAN to the 10% of remaining customers then it was worth it because that small number of sales of something with margins so large is better than smaller margins to many. At 200 customers buying SANs, for example, it would have been worth it to have lost 1,800 customers because of selling SANs financially, if that makes sense. So an MSP that sells 200 SANs is "bigger" than an MSP with 2000 customers that does not sell SANs, in that example.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Name the company...

    Time for the old Name and Shame!!!!


  • Vendor

    @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Funny... I actually did bring that up, and was told since nobody has heard of them, then they probably weren't very good. I thought they were joking, but they weren't.

    Who told that? Competitor? 🙂



  • @KOOLER said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Funny... I actually did bring that up, and was told since nobody has heard of them, then they probably weren't very good. I thought they were joking, but they weren't.

    Who told that? Competitor? 🙂

    That, or his management, lol.


  • Service Provider

    @KOOLER said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @BBigford said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @dafyre said in For the love of IPOD...:

    @DustinB3403 said in For the love of IPOD...:

    Better yet. . .

    "If they can afford 1 SAN, they can certainly afford 2, and make things truly solid". . .

    that would be commission + just good IT.

    Of course horrible finance control, but whatever.... with just a single SAN its still horrible finance control.

    Would it not be a good time to start pitching better setups such as Starwinds Appliances?

    Funny... I actually did bring that up, and was told since nobody has heard of them, then they probably weren't very good. I thought they were joking, but they weren't.

    Who told that? Competitor? 🙂

    Likely someone who had heard of them quite a lot, lol.


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