Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where's the Easy Button??

The marketing folks at Staples are geniuses for coming up with the idea of the Easy Button. Really, how many times has this idea been re-purposed by others to make a point? And each time, Staples gets a mention, even if not overtly!

Well, now it's my turn to give the Easy Button a push to make a point.

For the last 28 years, I've been exposed to a wide range of enterprise technologies and systems. As a sales engineer, a product guy, a CTO, etc., I've had the opportunity to experience some really GREAT installation procedures and some really cruddy ones as well. Some installations are intuitive while others were incredibly complex. There are many reasons for such disparity, ranging from the dependencies of a system/application to the skill of the team creating the installation procedure.

Yesterday, I jumped on a plane to Chicago to visit headquarters (Cleversafe) to stage a system scheduled to be shipped to a customer for a Proof of Concept at the end of the week. Having yet to perform a staging/installation exercise from scratch, I scheduled a full two and half days to be here for this activity. I mean, we're talking about staging a system that incorporates 12 servers that are starting out in boxes with no software. The entire POC system has a storage capacity of over 2 petabytes of usable storage. This should take awhile, right?

Imagine my surprise when the entire activity was completed in under 4 hours. (BTW, I was being taught on the fly, which slowed the process down just a little bit.) This included the following:

  • Bringing the boxes into the staging area
  • Removing the servers from the boxes
  • Placing the software image on each server
  • Configuring each server with the appropriate networking information
  • Connecting the machines into a network
  • Setting up the actual Cleversafe dsNet software
  • Configuring the dsNet
  • Burn in testing
  • Shutting down and reboxing the servers in preparation for shipping
When theses machines get to the customer, all that's left to do is take them out of the box, add the rack rails, slide them into the rack and connect power/network. At most, 90 minutes. Qualify for the Easy Button moniker? Oh yeah. 

It makes me wonder how many other storage providers can get a 2 petabyte system up and running from scratch this easily? 

Easy Button. Pushed.

And what is Bobby going to do with his extra time in Chicago? Well, I'll give you a hint. There's hot dogs, beer and a 7th inning stretch in store for him later tonight. Yeah, working for Cleversafe is a good thing.

No comments:

Post a Comment