IBM PartnerWorld: A conversation about IBM storage

Even if a product is technically superior, it is hard to get IT decision makers thinking about the right things.

A conversation with IBM's Laura Guio, VP BLE, Storage Systems, and Bina Hallman, VP Storage Systems Product Management, was on my agenda at IBM's PartnerWorld 2014. When I walked into the conference room, I was expecting to learn more about IBM's storage products, software defined storage and storage virtualization. Instead, I found myself in a very interesting, fast moving conversation about IT decision makers.

The conversation went far too rapidly for me to jot down any detailed notes. The following bullets are my best attempt at summarizing the conversation:

  • Decision makers are too often drawn to decide on initial cost of a product rather than making a more involved decision that includes longer term costs. What appears to be the lowest cost product may actually cost more than others. Including the operational costs of power consumption, heat production, expected reliability and administrative costs may take longer, but in the end companies could save a great deal of money.

  • Increasingly important IT decisions are being made by business people not technologists. Condensing complex technical messages into something these decision makers can use can be quite difficult. Starting with the business requirements and the related issues is a good approach. Helping these decision makers understand that the supplier knows about the problem, has a workable solution to that problem and has helped others facing similar challenges is an important part of the conversation.

  • Everyone in the storage business is waving the same banners and using the same catch phrases. It can be very difficult to help business decision makers to understand a product's key and distinctive features.

  • A storage product that has been designed from the beginning to support storage virtualization, the current catch phrase is software defined storage, can mean it will offer higher levels of performance, make better use of its storage capacity and live a longer productive life.

I'd suggest that readers that are interested in what virtual storage can do to facilitate an agile, virtualized environment take some time to learn more about IBM's offerings.