Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sales droids are the same in every business

What I noticed at the RSNA conference this week is that there are a lot of competitive solutions being offered for PACS ( image archives) and that there seems to be a lot of marketing dollars being spent on spinning who has the best answer and the best pricing. Also, I noticed that Medical Sales folks wear suits, not just khaki pants and logo shirts! WOW : )

The big storage array vendors seemed to be pushing the idea that security and their large size is worth more to the customers , while the emerging vendors were touting low priced alternatives to the high price solutions. I spoke to one salesman at an emerging company from Irvine, CA who was explaining that his system stores a lot of images. I asked how much and he said they had almost 40 TB of storage at one location in TX. The salesman really thought I would be impressed by that amount, since I was paying very close attention to the system specs. I explained that that was still a small amount of storage, and asked him what type of storage he was using. He was not able to tell me if his system was using RAID 5, or RAID 1, or RAID 0 or whether this Texas installation figure being quoted was a Raw number or a usable storage number. He proudly told me that his system uses new High Availability SATA disks though. I asked him whether he had a higher failure rate with SATA than he experienced with Fibre Channel disks? I clarified that up to this point we have seen higher failure rates with the SATA disks we support. The salesman could not provide me with any numbers or statistics and at this point decided that he should talk to another customer. Although he had a very nice suit, he should have known more about the technology he was selling. His programming was incomplete.

A few minutes later, I was purchasing some coffee and struck up a conversation with an engineer from one of the large array vendors. I asked him about their experience with failure rates between FC disk and SATA disk. This turned out to be a very interesting conversation because the engineer explained that older SATA disks did seem to have a higher failure rate than FC disks for them. I asked for more details, and I was told that their testing of the newest SATA disk do seem to test out almost as reliably as FC disk. I was not able to learn which disk models have been tested by them to be superior models, but I am really interested in this information. Finding reliable and verifiable disk failure rate information which compares enterprise array failures of FC and SATA disk seems very difficult. I understand that over all disks are very, very reliable, but I would like to see some verifiable statistics instead of marketing numbers.

I also got the chance to visit some of our Chicago area customers this week. I really enjoyed my visits and it was great to be told by our customers how much they enjoy dealing with Zerowait.

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