As I mentioned last week, I was in San Jose for Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) first ever Geek Day. Charmingly, the event was officially called HDS Geek Day 0.9. Here is a run down of my takeaways and perceptions of HDS before and after this event.
My perception of HDS.
Before Geek Day: I didn’t have any HDS product knowledge. I know they OEM many disks through Hitachi Japan (AKA Hitachi LTD.) and that Devang, Chris, Nigel and Greg have deep HDS roots. I was not the only blogger coming in with so little of a perception.
After Geek Day: They have a broad storage offering, squarely focused on the enterprise market. I’d like to see some expanded offering to the small and medium storage consumer. There will be a product announcement next week for a small(er) storage product that can function in a similar space as the HP MSA P2000 G3. I’ll cover that upon its release.
How does HDS differentiate themselves?
Before Geek Day: I’ve just been told it is good stuff, but knew nothing more.
After Geek Day: There was a discussion about if the components are commodity-based, what differentiates the HDS storage solution from another vendor who may use many of the same components due to Hitachi LTD’s supply reach throughout the storage ecosystem? Michael Hay addressed this with a big focus on utilizing offload on these components, but would have liked to have something a little meatier. I’ll put that on my follow-up list.
I’ve also learned that HDS is getting into the software and server business, so it is more than just storage.
Compare HDS Geek Day to other social media events
Logistics: Logistically speaking, HDS nailed the operational aspects of a social media event. We were never behind schedule and had timeslots to address questions that came up. A question queue referred to as the ‘parking lot’ was a good vehicle to get questions answered.
HDS Resources: HDS also did a great job of delivering the right staff for the event. Presenting and available for the event were the following HDS personnel:
Pete Gerr – Strategic and Solutions Marketing Director
Harry Zimmer – Global Competitive Marketing Senior Director
Mandy Perera – Senior Competitive Market Analyst
Hu Yoshida – CTO and VP
Michael Hay – Senior Director Product Strategy
Michael Heffernan – Solutions Product Manager Server Virtualization
John Harker – Product Marketing Manager, HDP
John Yarborough – Technical Operations
Larry Krobus – Product Manager
Ken Wood – Director of Product Strategy
Miki Sandorfi – Chief Strategist for File, Content and Cloud
Linda Xu – Senior Director for File, Content and Cloud
Claus Mikkelsen – CTO of Storage Architectures
Christophe Bertrand – Senior Director of Product Marketing
We even had the HDS CEO, Jack Domme, show up at dinner!
This was quite the showing in my opinion.
Note: Most of these HDSers have blogs at: http://blogs.hds.com
Format: The format is almost a textbook play of other events I have attended, a full day followed by a half day. A lab tour is included as well as a group dinner.
HDS on Social Media: HDS admits this is a new space. One thing I brought up in the meetings is that virtually every storage company has a social media “face” to associate with on social media. The Tweeter in me can name Twitter accounts for 3Par, NetApp, EMC, and HP and follow them all. Before this I didn’t have that for HDS. I think most of the Twitter names for HDSers were set up recently. Maybe someone at HDS can make a Twitter list of all HDS Twitter members (Hint!).
Experience: As with other blogger events like this, HDS Geek Day covered the travel costs of the event. This was primarily the flight, the hotel, meals and some transportation to and from airports (Note: My full blogger disclosure). It may sound crazy, but the hotel we stayed at was a little too fancy in my opinion. We stayed at the Fairmont San Jose, which as the driver told me “Is the nicest hotel in San Jose.” I want to disclose that this was utilizing HDS’s travel agency and it had a negotiated rate, so it was not extravagant in cost but nonetheless is “above the standard of hotel lodging that I would purchase on my own.”
All told, the experience was good. The attendees were a good mix and the flow went well. I have a little issue with the lack of offerings to the SMB space, especially as for virtualization storage you want the best you can get. We’ll circle back to that with the product announcement next week.
Blog posts: I have a number of posts I want to get up, and I’ll take nuggets of what I have learned and roll them into my posts in regular blogs as well as hopefully some sort of standalone product information or review. I had the first one go online today, Don’t call it de-duplication, about a new virtualization storage practice that should be coming from HDS.