I spent this weekend fixing my John Deere 317, a 30 year old lawn tractor.
It is a bit cranky, but ultimately it goes forward and backward, pushes dirt and snow around, and cuts my grass. It just works (sometimes). I spend a bit of time doing this and that to it, and frankly I have spent more time fixing it then using it. Part of me is frustrated because I like things that just work. Turn it on and it goes. It cuts, pushes, moves, etc. And, when the green machine is working, it does it great. The other part of me, that part that loves working with my hands, solving problems and making things work, enjoys fixing the green machine. (I don't call it the green machine because of the color but rather all the "green" I have to put into it. For those not familiar with American slang, green is another term for money.)
There is something satisfying about a tune up, replacing an accelerator cable, repairing the cutting deck, fixing the brakes, hydraulic hoses and ignition switch, as well as every single tire on the green machine. You might gather that I have done all of that over the last two years. It runs better now, and it gets a bit better every day. All that being said, the allure of walking into the local John Deere dealership and driving out with a brand new machine kind of gets me in that part that is uniquely male. You know, that part of most men that drags knuckles, scratches where it itches and generally thinks that dirt and shooting things is pretty cool. Yes, it it true that my wife doesn't understand the value of a tractor that has a cup holder, can tow a boat (we don't have a boat), dig post holes (no fence posts) or frankly any of that cool stuff. She just shrugs and chalks it up to one of those things she can't understand and doesn't really need to. Anyway, back to my tale. So the tractor I want costs about $12K. At this point I stuff that male part of my brain back into the kennel that it belongs in and I fix the green machine again. There is a trade off between really really cool, and more functionality and features then you could ever use in your life time. Sure, I want to be able to hook up the dozer blade to the tractor, but, what exactly would I doze? (If my wife reads this, ignore the rational part of this post...Danny needs a dozer...)
This is analogous to the storage industry. Sometimes you really really need a dozer that costs $12K. Pushing dirt around is important, and, if you have to mow a golf course, well, you don't want a pair of hedge shears for that. I am a huge believer in getting the tools you need to do your job. (My engineers run on some of the best stuff Sun makes for development systems). However, other times you just need acres of cheap and deep storage. You need a box that does a few things very very well, and, doesn't cost a fortune. It puts bits on dense storage, costs you exactly enough to meet your needs, but no more, and it just works. Unlike my tractor, you don't need to fix it every ten minutes.
We are building the right level of storage arrays. We offer the high end, wicked fast, storage devices. We also offer starter kits, unique ways of viewing the convergence of compute and storage and well.... Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, now we start some really interesting stuff... This is going to be a great summer, and one that we will look back on in two years and say "There.. right there is when we made life more interesting for storage at Sun..."
Now, I have a slow hydraulic leak that I need to go clean up.