What differentiates your systems from the competition?
Our blade architecture is very easy to integrate servers and storage into the same form factor.
Another big difference is the use of off-the-shelf components. It gives us a couple of advantages: When something changes, we're able to implement as soon as it happens. We're shipping [Intel's latest offering] Woodcrest the day it's available. It makes it much easier to come out with new products.
Normally, the servers at the base of the rack get all the cooling, and the ones at the top of the rack take what they can. We draw in more than 2,400 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air. Each blade is getting 100 CFM. We don't have one blade getting 300 CFM and others getting less. Our blades have no cooling on the parts themselves. All of it is provided by the cabinet.
If you're in a raised floor environment, our installations have no problem being in a hot row. We don't draw air in from the ambient room unless we're in a solid floor environment.
[Driggers founded San Diego-based Verari 10 years ago. The company recently appointed former EMC-exec David Wright to CEO. Wright will take over the business functions, allowing Driggers to focus on the technology.]
How do you pick a channel partner?
We have very specific guidelines that we follow when selecting channel partners. Those guidelines typically revolve around how quickly they can deliver, the breadth of their offering and pricing.
What do you buy and from whom?
Because of the big differential between what we spend on storage versus the rest of our IT needs, we typically look to vendors that handle the largest breadth of gear as possible. For EMC gear, for example, we work very closely with Dell. EMC has one of the largest networks of resellers and VAR [value added reseller] partners out there but we have found that we still get better service from a firm like Dell because of the fact that we buy so much other nonstorage-related equipment, servers, etc.
For smaller purchases or purchases we need in a faster delivery window, we work with a variety of local and national VARs and in many cases buy direct. In the case of software, we will, whenever possible, buy direct if the firm offers direct download. Even when a VAR can offer better pricing, the convenience of a direct download or automatic license purchase is far more important.
The second key issue is that when we work with the larger resellers, we are able to get a lot better service because of our larger purchase volume. For example, we recently purchased an entry-level EMC SAN for a specific project, and had the scope of our project change overnight. We needed a SAN that could scale much larger and had to go with a higher end model that would scale further. EMC has a policy that once a PO [purchase order] is signed, they will not take a unit back unless it is due to a technical problem. Because of our relationship with Dell, they were more than willing to work with us, and did so in as painless a way as possible. If I was working direct or with a VAR that only handled storage or that I did not have the same dollar volume with, I am not confident we would have had the same experience.
Third, in theory, channel partners can introduce us to new products that we were otherwise unaware of, but in practice that is pretty rare in the current business climate.
We also have a hard time with resellers that do not stock product. In the current climate, we typically make final purchasing decisions a week or two before we need the product installed in our data center. In some cases, due to project scope changes or emergency capacity upgrades, we need to be able to have a product the next day. Most resellers today, and for that matter, many vendors themselves, are not prepared to meet that kind of delivery timetable. For organizations with static needs or even static rates of change, that may be fine, but for a rapidly growing Internet-centric business it causes a lot of problems. To resolve this issue, we typically have three or four key resellers that can source any one product we use, so with a little legwork we are able to meet our timetable.
What is the difference between record-keeping of VoIP messages versus traditional telephone messages?
There are going to be different types of records created by telephone calls when you do things digitally. When you do things digitally as opposed to the old-fashioned way, it creates new challenges in terms of retention. For example, if you look at old voicemails, analog form, there wasn't much expectation in the way of preserving them.
With digital voicemail systems and systems that turn voicemails into wave files that then get e-mailed, now you have this whole new possibility and treasure-trove evidence and information that would be potentially subject to preservation obligations, just like any other form of information. The key thing to remember is that the type of media in which the records are stored is largely irrelevant when it comes to determining your obligations to preserve. And, as the types of media that are creating these records with different types of digital information multiply -- for example, records created through VoIP -- it becomes more and more critical for companies to be very focused on their policies and practices regarding information management.
No. 2, is not having thoroughly thought out and implemented information management policies and practices. You would be amazed at the big companies with vast sprawling corporate networks generating gigantic amounts of information -- a lot of it very sensitive -- that have not made much headway into implementing policies and practices, so they can have some measure of control and can explain why they have certain information and not other information.
No. 3, is they are not in touch with the de facto information policies -- what actually happens at the company. A lot of what happens is driven by IT people. So, for example, somebody in IT decides that because of storage capacity issues, they are going to purge e-mail on active servers every 90 days. Then a litigation happens, or there is an investigation, and either no one was aware of the purge or thought to communicate with IT that they need to perhaps to suspend the purge.
This gets to the heart of our audience. So CIOs need to be brought into the loop?
Absolutely, the interface between CIOs and lawyers is the story. In all these cases where companies have been punished for losing electronic information, 99% of the time it can be attributed to some kind of communications failure between lawyers and IT people. Not bringing IT into the loop on legal issues is a common and serious mistake. Morgan Stanley is probably the most prominent example. A few years back, there was a case, Keir v. UnumProvident Corp., a big insurance company. The decision gives a fascinating inside look at what happened in terms of the miscommunication between the outside lawyers and the in-house lawyers down to the inside tech people at the company and their vendor, IBM, which handled their backup systems.
What makes VoIP messages such a potential nightmare is that to produce voicemail that has been sent and saved digitally, you have to listen to it real time and transcribe it.
That's right, and the burden involved in that may result in not having to produce it. But it might not, and when you're dealing with regulators, they are less sympathetic to the burden argument.
Now you don't have to create records that wouldn't otherwise exist. If it is not your normal practice to record those oral communications, you're not required to go out and record them and create records just because you have some preservation duty. It doesn't mean I now have to walk around with a tape recorder and anytime I say something to someone that is relevant to a litigation or investigation I now have to tape record it.
at the school by offering cloud storage and computational services. At HMS, consumers pay for basic resources and can lease cloud capacity, for example, paying...