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Featured Blog: the storage anarchist

Barry Burke is a Sr. Director and Chief Strategy Officer for the Symmetrix Product Group within EMC’s Storage Division.  This is NOT an EMC supported blog.  As Barry puts it…”I am a blogger who works at EMC, not an EMC blogger.”

shame on all of us – July 16, 2010


Sometimes we in the storage industry misbehave.

Sometimes Badly.

The most recent example surrounds the reports early this week about how a bank was unable to service its ATM customers as a result of a vendors’ process mistake. Apparently an operator used an out-of-date procedure to execute a routine service operation during a planned outage and the result was an protracted unplanned outage. To their credit, the vendor publicly owned up to the mistake and is certainly taking steps to avoid similar occurrences in the future.

All fine and good, if we could have just left it there.

But no, it seems this is not to be the case. Sales reps from the vendor-at-fault’s competitors are gleefully emailing these reports to every customer and prospect, in hopes of creating sufficient Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) about the competitor in the minds of these potential sources of revenue. I personally have had over a dozen emails in my inbox linking to the reports.

I find this deplorable, childish behavior.

And yes, that is directed at folks from my own company as well as those from competitors.

hey, we’re all human here!

Everyone makes mistakes, and whether the fault of a single person or a process or a whole communications chain, none of us are perfect. I know at EMC we work very hard to eliminate such errors, and I’m sure that our competitors try hard as well. But whether we are more successful at avoiding mistakes or not, this does not give any of us the right to exploit human failure – for to be sure, there inevitably will be mistakes made by all of us that have similarly serious impact on a customer.

Don’t get me wrong, though. If a competitors product has a deficiency that causes a problem or if the product simply isn’t fit-for-purpose (e.g., Apple’s iPhone 4), then I say it is fair game. But to imply that a competitors’ products are lessened by a human mistake – No sir, it ain’t right, and I don’t like it.

Hence the title of this post. Shame on us all for this behavior, and let us not wish similar mistakes on anyone. We all work and live in glass houses.

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