B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 3 weeks ago

Redefining Simplicity and Giving Customers the Power of Choice with Ric Halsaver

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Finding a solid data storage provider can feel like combing through a tangled ball of wires, making it challenging to uncover the value in each option. 

What makes a data storage solution worthwhile across finances, logistics and longevity? Customers, as expected, look for simplicity and high performance. However, those perks may come with sacrifices. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Ric Halsaver , North America Flash, SDI and Red Hat storage channel sales leader at IBM , about: 

- IBM’s approach to providing value

- Simplicity in data storage

- Giving customers the power of choice 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by IBM. IBM is a leading hybrid multi cloud solutions company accelerating the creation, development and manufacturing of the industry's most advanced information technology for companies around the world. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk, and our guest today is Rick Hal Saber, North America Flash SDI AND RED HAT storage channel sales leader for IBM. Rick, welcome, thank you, glad to be here. Shall be excellent. Well, today we're talking about the advantages of IBM flash systems versus its competitors. But first off, Rick, tell us just a little bit about your role there at IBM and and within this storage channel. Sure so again, I'm recal saver. I'm on a special IBM team called these storage Swat teams, which stands for storage weapons and tactics, and the goal of the team is basically help IBM business partners and their customers to understand why about why IBM storage is worth considering. From pretty much all aspects right to include like performance, features, compatibilities, uh, and of course, how we you know, compared to the competition. And I also offer trainings through Angram that help people that have never stole, never still never sold storage previously. Maybe you sold networking, communication gear what have you, but never really sold, uh, storage. If you fall into that category and you would basically like to have just an elementary class on storage terms and learn what things like I ops and N V and me and clustering and controllers and all that kind of stuff are, we can do that in an hour, era ingram. That so, uh, it could. Could it go as...

...medial as or, yeah, as as a beginner as what is the cloud it really is? So I talked about the cloud, I talked about what multi cloud is, I talked about all the pieces and parts that you will hear, not just in storage but the things that might come up with storage, and it really just helps people. You know, if you're selling servers and you're not selling storages because you just don't understand it, you're you're really leaving a an open door for your competitors. So why not attached storage to what you're already doing if you can? And the first step is just to understand what the heck it's all about. It makes a lot of sense. Well, what are I t decision makers then really looking for in a storage solution? I mean, cost is always a factor there, but what else is important? Well, so I would say the sellers have to put their selves in the shoes of these decision makers. So imagine they have to buy now for what they think are where they think them might be four or five years from now. So they don't even know when they're gonna be right. You know, they could get bought, they could quadruple in size, they could have in size. They have no idea. So because of that they worry about a lot of different things. You know, they have to worry about management of the storage and things like availability and security and and Gosh, we need to mirror and replicate and what if we go to the cloud? And well, heck, what if we don't go to the clouds? So it just kind of creates, I guess, anxiety and uncertainty. And then when they go to sites like Dell and HP and pure and had taught to others. What they end up spining is a bunch of families. So you know, it's not a common for a vendor to have five or six different product families. And then you click on the family and all of a sudden there's five or six parts within the family. And then these these manufacturers, they list them. Is is like entry or mid range or enterprise? And then, you know, the decision makers like to you is, what are we right? Are we entry or mid range? You know where's mid range stop and enterprise start? It's so confused using. So once they figure that...

...out, then they go to the family, then they have to figure out the family, then they figure out the product and when it's all done, they have to start all over again because, guess what, they can't just try one vendor. They have to look at multible vendors and again it's just overwhelming. So what IBM did differently to basically kind of help customers, you know, get past this, I guess. Or to answer your question, what's important, I think it's a simplicity for the customers. So what we did is we decided, you know what, we're gonna redefine simple. We're literally gonna offer to the customers a single hardware platform called flash systems and a single management platform called spectrum virtualized. And it doesn't matter what kind of drives these guys have, doesn't really matter where the customer is. They could be using they could be on prem they could be in the cloud, that could be using virtual or paramedical machines, that could be doing containers. It doesn't matter. It would be the same operating system called spectrum virtualized, no matter where they go. So it helps them to take care of where they are now and wherever it might be in the future and takes a lot of the anxiety out of out of the whole thing. And that's that's interesting to be able to simplify it because, yeah, there's too many per mutations, of of different options that you can choose and if you're not familiar with it, it's it's just helpful to have somebody to be able to walk you through what those are. So Um, let's let's talk about then, the competition. I mean, if you are looking at these various vendors and you're comparing IBM to Dell and hp Um, what are some of those differentiators about IBM and are there some maybe unexpected advantages that that IBM systems offer versus others. So, first of all, it's a great question, shelby Um, and it's actually a long answer, so I'm gonna apologize in advance. So because you...

...kind of have to divide the answer to that up into two separate things. One would be hardware, won would be software. So I guess let's let's start with hardware, right. Start with the media itself. Are Competitors for the most part used standard off the shelf flash drives, right, and IBM can use them as well. Right. But we also have designed our own flash modules, called flash core modules, we also call fcms, if you will, for sure. But while they look like a standard flash drive from the outside, they actually the fastest and most dense drives in the market. Their speed, believe it or not, as less than fifty microseconds. Instead of put that in perspective. These flash core modules are three times faster than pures fastest storage offering, five times faster than HP s storage offering with twice the capacity. They're even faster than Dell's storage class memory, which is, you know, storage class memory blows flash away. Right. Not In our case. These flash core modules are faster than anyone out there. Storage class married to include Dell, at less than fifteen microseconds. So nobody really touches us from that side. Then you start to look at some of the other stuff. Wow, uh, let's talk about density and footprint. So companies like Dow and HP and others, they provide flash drive that has a maximum capacity of fifteen point three six terabytes. Our flash core modules are thirty eight point four terabytes. And there are biggest form, fact our biggest duck capacity, which is more than twice the density of these competitors. You might say, cares? Right, why does that matter? Well, the thing is density creates a smaller footprint for the customer. And again, you might say, who cares about footprint? Right, well, think about this security. We want to make sure as as these companies go out, they we want to make sure that they are secure in every respect, and one of the things they need to do is replicate data to a remote site somewhere. So if the power grid goes down in their side, guess what, they can...

...go to the data that's on a different pot grade and things like that. Right, you got fire, you get birth Graake, can have or whatever. So when you talk about a remote site, most of the organizations don't have the money to go out there and buy chunk of land and Philip Fall people, so they go to a provider. Well, that provider will charge you by one of three metrics, floor, tile, square foot or almost always something called the rack you. Rack you is the physical height of the device, and that's where footprint comes from. So one rack you equals one three quarters inches a height. So that's why footprint is important, because they charge you by the height of the device. They charge and some of the major cities as much as three dollars per rack you. So you talk about a company like, uh, let's say pure with their xl box, where they have a five you box that compares to our we have a box in the midrange that beats their performance. In the high end our boxes to you, there's this five year that means that the customer, because of the density and the footprint that we offer, if they used peer instead of us, they could pay as much as three dollars. Times that, three you, times how many ever they have per month, times however many months the contract is, and what are they getting out of it? A slower product, than their paying more money for it all because it has a higher footprint. So density and footprint. It's a huge thing. And and you you gotta start out the question by you know, what are some unexpected advantages? Idem I would say that's probably an unexpected one. People don't think about that, but it's it's there. Right now, you talk about things like economics, Um an economics has to do with money, right. So the majority of the products in the marketplace or either all MV and me Flash, all SSD flash or all distress. Right. That means the customer has to make a...

...decision to choose a box for each tier of the performance that they need, and most organizations to need multiple tiers. Right. That can get expensive, not just because of the hardware but because you have to pay maintenance and again, maybe the footprint. So everyone needs different tiers of performance because after about thirty or four or five days, most data will either never be touched again or if it does, it will be very infrequently. You can't, no one can afford to put everything they have on flash. But you look at products like Dell's power store, appears xcel series, they're not only just flash, they're only MVM flash and that's the most expensive flash there is. So would it make sense to put data you never may never touch again on the fastest flash? From an economic perspective, the answer is obvious, right no, I'm not gonna put something I'll never touch again on a very expensive media are be and those benefits that we have from the hardware perspective, shelby, is that our flash systems offer the ability to mix different levels of performance via the different types of drives in the same box. Why buy separate boxes that pay all that money for all that maintenance when you can have a product like the flash systems that allows you to uh to mix and match the media and then the box? So another another interesting thing I would say is that if you look at at products like HP is, elitia and again pure, they require the company to buy a whole shelf up drives for any capacity upgrade. So what if you're just a company and you know you're three years into a five year, four year refreshing guess what, you need just thirty more terrib to get you over the home. Too Bad, you owe their products you. You're on their practice. Well, you can't just buy one drive, you gotta buy a whole shelf. That can be anywhere from forty to nine thousand dollars, depending on what kind of drives they are, on the sizes IB and Flash. You can upgrade on one drive at a time if you want, and that again it comes back to that economics things. Let's help this company save money and time. So I pripe board you to death on...

...that. Okay, good, good. So the last thing I'll say about hardware is encryption. Shelby, you've heard of ransomware, right. Everybody knows what it is, right because it's in the news everything tonight. But the first safeguard the companies can have against the bad guys getting in is just simply encrypted data. For you, sellers and architects will tell you a great story, and that is ask a customer flat out, do you encrypt your data, and if they say yes, ask them does it speed you up or slow you down? The answer is the time going to be. Well, slows US down. If they say no, they don't encrypt, ask them why, and guess what they will say? Well, we don't encrypt because it slows us down. Our flashcore modules are the only product on the market where we actually can encrypt and compress data with no performance penalty. So now customers can provide that first line to defense against the bad guys by encrypting their data with no performance penalty. It's a huge story and I personally, you know, not to my own order, where I guess I am, but I personally sold six flashes, some boxes, simply because the customers wanted fast in the first place, but they also want to do encrypt data, and what I told them that Bam they bought. It just kind of gives you you know. It kind of tells you how important it is. So now I'm gonna jump into software side and we'll go through this fast, but I want to explain to you why hardware is cool. And when you think of storage, you think of the hardware. No one ever thinks about the software, right. So the most powerful software to find product on the market is by IBM and it's it's our product called spectrum virtualized. If we remember when I first talked, I was telling you that is our management and operating system for the flash systems. It literally does for storage what Vm ware did for servers. It virtually lies is all blocked storage. And if you can imagine...

...this, it's not uncommon for anybody that's on the call to have customers that have multiple vendors of storage, or or it could be and or they have one vendor storage but they have three or four different product families and none of them talk to each other. When you have three separate products, let's say that don't talk to each other, you probably need three separate people to manage your storage. It's a waste. But because we have this this gooey that works with nearly everybody else's block storage, we can implement spectrum virtualized and we can literally let them use that on on not just out end storage, but we can use it on anybody's storage. And when we do that that means that, guess what, now they can use that block storage on premise and containers again, in the cloud, what have you. So this software is just like ridiculously cool because it helps people with economics. And you might say, well, do you guys? You have three people work in your storage, what happens the other two? Do you fire? Now? Guess what, if you're an average company out there, you probably want to be more competitive and you probably want to do things like analytics or Iot, but you don't have the budget to hire more people. I guess what. Now only one person managing our storages instead of three. What do we do with the other two people? Let's repurpose those people off to make often the other modern work list to make the company more competitive makes sense. The last thing I'll say about this is that spectrum virtualized isn't just that. It actually is that says most is the most powerful product out there, so it will automatically. When we talked about mixing different types of storage, we actually use AI inspect and virtualized to tear the data automatically. Customer doesn't even have to touch it, and things like data reduction. If a customer, let's say, wants to go out and buy more storage, if they expect and virtualized, do you know what? They could actually use the data re action technology, inspectrum...

...virtualize, and they could literally create more capacity from their block storage by just using that. If they got three to one block, three to one data reduction, that means they would have three times more storage without any additional hardware purchase, without any additional footprint. And it can do all the other stuff like mirroring and tearing and and all the snapshots, you know, replication, encryption, all the kind of cool stuff that everybody wants, and it's all included with spectrum virtualize. It's funny. The data reduction Um. You know, probably you're like like many that use that, that Google drive religiously, and you know, just got the notice that, you know, we're going to start putting shortcuts to any duplicate APP data that you have and, uh, you know, that's I imagine that is because we are just producing the most amount of data that we've ever, obviously ever have in our entire existence, and it's just it's multiplying and multi applying and so, uh, you know, if you see these large scale you know, you know, the giants like Google trying to trying to to reduce the amount that's being used. UH, one it's an advantage for for customers. I mean they don't have to go purchase extra but that's I guess that's something you don't really think about when you think about storage. Just think of the hard you know, the hardware, like you said. You don't think of the software that makes it a little bit easier. It's exactly right. And you think about things like what if you have data in Amazon or Microsoft Asore or something. What if you have, you know, Hunter terabytes immunity. You need three. Do you realize that you can actually click on the store in Amazon, Anazor and IBM and soon to be Google cloud? You can click on the store by spect and virtualized for about a third with the capacity would cost you. You can turn it on and it will give you the data reduction on the cloud. So you only paint for a hundred terabytes, but you're really realizing three...

...or four hundred terabytes. So that's how spectum virtualized. Like I said, it doesn't matter if you're on premise or where you are, even if it's in the cloud. When you use spect and virtualize, it's gonna give you all the functionalities. So let's talk about Um. You know this comparison of IBM and pure. So I came across several kind of subreddits on this debate. And so, just because I'm not as familiar with pure, from a neutral standpoint, what does pure and and IBMs counterpart do? Well, I've never heard of pure. Not Kidding you. So when you talk about pure, you kind of have to dig down in and kind of understand what the company is all about, right. So what are they? You know, their cool company. To Be retally honest with you, it kind of pains me to say that, but they've got bright collars and fancy and fancy marketing and they make a pretty good middle of the road product. But you know, they also have the least performing products in most expensive solutions on the market for the most part. So that's kind of contradicted. Right, you can be cool, but GE Whiz, if you're not well performing, then that might be a problem and if you're expensive, probably a bigger problem. So, which I have to understand, is pure strategy. So the strategy is simplicity. Simplicity trumps everything. And why? You might say, well, right, that sounds good. Why wouldn't you want simplicity? Right, in their case, it means that the simplicity actually will cost the customer performance and footprint and Economics we've talked about, and even flexibility. So they pushed data reduction as their number one feature to the customer and claim that they get five x, which is higher than almost anybody in the market, to include IBM. But they don't guarantee it without the customer and guaranteeing it that they can do at first and even then pure only guarantee for ninety days. So it's kind of a little bit of smoking mirrors and it really pures this marketing genius. There really does have a lot of smoking mirrors and the deeper you get into and the more you start to see that, and I hate to say...

...that because it's bad mouth and the company, but it really they really are really good at just kind of making things look better than than they sound. But if you were to look for their performance numbers on their website, which I'd ask anybody just go out and look for them right you won't see them. And why would they put their performance numbers on there if they're low? So guess what? They don't put them on there because of that. And interesting as well about their data reduction is that during heavy workloads they'll turn it off and you might say, well, that does sound like a big deal, but the problem is customers buy the capacity they're gonna buy based upon whatever the data reduction is supposed to be. When pure shuts it off, if they're hitting five to one, that means they're all of a sudden now they're writing five times more data. And guess what? What, if I don't have enough space to put it. So pure recommends that the customers buy more stories than they need to make sure they have enough reserve capacity to cover this. I mean, what customer wants to pay for forty two start more capacity that they might not even used? Right? It's so. The other thing that pure does is, and again this is all about simplicity. They offer slow, medium and fast boxes. Simple, right. You want to mix some fast with some medium storage. Can't do it. I want to automatically tear so that you can, you can tear your data across the boxes. Can't do it. So their complicity, simplicity, I'm sorry. It makes the customer buy a slow box, buy a medium box and maybe buy a fast box, along with all the costly maintenance stuff. So you need more performance, you gotta buy an additional maintenance broken. Then they'll give it to them. So they get new controllers. Need more capacity, you have to buy a whole new shelf of the drives. You can't do them. Want to drive at a time. So what you start to see is that, although they pass some pitch simplicity, their approach is really great for them and not really so great for the customer. Right right. Well, so, taking this uh, take this a little bit further. Um. What,...

...then, are the advantages that IBM has over a competitor like pure, and especially, you know, we're talking about this data reduction. Uh, if if debta reduction is pures, you know thing it's? It's the simplicity of it, the way that that they are able to, yeah, be a popular choice in the marketplace, and they are. Uh, what does IBM have of for them then? So again, great question. Um. So, when you look at the biggest advantages that we have over pure, it's not just our technology itself, but it's really about the flexibility that will offer the customer. So pure kind of handcuffs and customers into long maintenance contracts that they can't get out of without losing a bunch of money. So, you know, most people on this call probably you know what I'm talking about. They have a famous maintenance program called Evergreen and they say that it makes everything simple for the customer. But I mean, we can take this time, you can dive in a little bit deeper to help you understand exactly how it works. So they have two evergreen options. One of the first one is evergreen silver, which is a standard maintenance program everybody uses twenty four, y seven or eight, by five next day or whatever. The second one is their cash cow product. That's called Evergreen gold and that's the one that everybody talks about. What it does differently is, yes, it has seen by twenty four, but it also offers the customer free controller upgrades after the end of three year of the three year maintenance program they signed. And you might say, well, Geeves, that sounds good right. The problem is that the customer has to pay a whole lot of money extra for this gold, Evergreen, and the Gotcha is that before they get the new controllers at the end of three years, they have to sign a new additional three year maintenance contract. So pure, before they get the controllers, pure locks them into a six year deal, a six year contract, and you think about it, a lot can happen in six years. Do you really want to lock your your you know, your company, in for that long? So you...

...might say, okay, rich, sounds good, but give me an example, right. So let's let's let's take a one of their mid brange boxes, an x seventy, and let's say has three sixty six terabytes in it. And after we put their most aggressive discount on it. The evergreen contractor would cost them six hundred and seventeen dollars per month. Times seventy two months. It's just just six years, meaning that the customer will pay roughly a hundred and sixteen thousand dollars. What do they get out of that? They get those evergreen controllers on an old box. To put that in perspective, a set of last system hundred controllers are like twenty k at the list price. So the customers spend on a whole heck of a lot of money. They call them free controllers, but nothing's free when you spend a hundred sixty thousand dollars. So, knowing that, now put yourself again in the customers place. Right. What if, three or four years into this six year contract, storage class memory, which is the fastest flash there, is right? What if it all of a sudden becomes less expensive than regular flash and you're like wall wait a minute, faster and it's cheaper. Bam, I want that. Right. If you're a pure customer and you're locked into that evergreen contract, too bad, you're locked in. You can't do it. And to rub salt into the wound even further, if the cust we talked about how they're not very perform well performing boxes. If the customers says, you know what, we need more performance, we need our controllers before the end of our third year, pure will do it, but they're gonna make them by four times more capacity and they're gonna make them sign another three year evergreen contract. So you know, I urge you guys out there as sellers and architects, pitched choice to the customer. You know, do you do? You don't? You really want to have a choice on whether you're going to spend all this money and and that's what IBM gives you. It basically...

...gives you no lock INS and it gives a customer more flexibility, if you will. So you brought up shelby data reduction, so let let me hit that real quick, and that is that. Do they have great data reduction? The answer is yes, they absolutely do, but, as I said before, it costs at the price of both performance and cost to the customer, cost because they have to have reserved capacity when it shuts off and just the box itself with all the maintenance stuff. Our flashist architecture provides not only faster data reduction that never shuts off and the customer doesn't have to buy anything extra. So I would say to you folks that if you have a customer that's interested in pure and they're talking about a five to one data reduction instead of IBM, is guaranteed three to one data reduction, turn the conversation around and talk about cost per terabyte. So I'm giving you an example at x fifty flash arrayed by pure with one hundred and thirty seven terabytes, compared to our flash system fifty with three five terabytes. Again, one seven terabytes with pure, three five terabytes with with IBM. After a sixty eight percent discount on the pure box, that's three you high. And this is only with silver. Ever Green weren't too or not even price and o with their expensive stuff, their cost for that box would be roughly three hundred and seventy six thousand dollars. Put in perspective, the retail price or list price on the flash system with in one third space, with two and a half times more capacity, is three hundred and seventy one tho dollars. It's five thousand dollars. And our list price and their best discount and the average discount. So when you pull the average discount off of the flash system, the customer will pay roughly s for a box that has two and a half times more capacity.

It's faster and it's in less space. That's why you talk cost pit tear bout. It makes a lot of sense. Well, as we start to wrap up our episode today, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? That's broad, I know, but if you will get that crystal ball out, uh, tell me, tell me what you see. And it can be within this space, it can be you know something that you're personally interested but where do you see technology going in the next year? I think it's pretty obvious. Right. Um, there's gonna be a lot of people going to the cloud, but because of security, security concerns and performance and other stuff, the on premise data center still going to have its place, especially when you're talking about things like, Um, I don't know, like debops and mobile platforms, basically anything that needs security. Right. I also think that edge computing is going to rear its head within the next twelve months or so and it's gonna bring the compute layer closer to the users and the customers, but that in itself is going to generate, you know, new concerns that maybe you know, unseen at this point. So I think the real answer to your question is that it has to be easy for the customer to move data from wherever it is they are now to wherever it is they might go in the future, the ability to move from on prem to edge containers and clouds, all the stuff. And I really think that IBM is kind of uniquely positioned, not only just because of spectrum virtualized but because we also own red hat, which has the number one platform out there for the future, if you will, Um called open shift. For listeners who want to find out more about what we talked about today, how can they reach out? Um so ingram has a dedicated rep and technical staff for IBM. Um I'm also available to do on site and virtual sessions that, you know, to help anybody out. You know how, not only to how to understand IBM itself, but the competition and how you know you can make high commission rates and what available uh incentives there are. There are to you. You...

...can obviously hit the IBM dot com slash storage set as well, but I think the number one thing you can do is reach out to your Ingram Rep and if you don't understand stores, let's get you to that point. You need to attach stores to every deal because if you aren't, again your competitors are. So reach out to your Ingram Rep, I would say, the best thing that you can do. Excellent. Well, Rick, appreciate all your insight today. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby Scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by IBM. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton. To not miss an episode, subscribe today to your favorite podcast platform.

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