Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Avatars and Symmetry

One OEM has been a big believer in the usage of Avatars for a few years now, as this story from 2007 highlights. The second link shows how the movie industry has embraced the idea, and may have created a product from it.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ew/2007/06/25/stories/2007062550110800.htm
Network Appliance (NetApp) is a $2.8-billion storage networking firm up against the likes of EMC Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. Maintaining the culture of innovation amongst its engineers so products are creative and useful is a prime focus to reach up the market share ladder.
One way of developing better products is by tuning into clients’ data management woes, understanding requirements, and shaping products to reflect needs. However, the knowledge that after-sales and marketing folks get from the field does not always permeate to the engineers/developers.
And that is why the company created Mike Raja and Joe and four other personas. Joe could be a DBA (database administrator)/Chief Information Officer/any other user of NetApp’s data management products.
“This is a new approach that we are trying. Innovation is important and these personas for users of our products help continually innovate,” Louis H. Selincourt, Vice-President, SMAI & Offshore Operations, told eWorld over lunch at the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, recently.
The idea came from the book, “The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum” penned by Alan Cooper, whose company makes software more user-friendly.
“Personas create a consistent ID of our users, so we can discuss them across the company while brainstorming,” says Selincourt.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/21/avatar_storage_effects/
Weta used NetApp kit to store the incoming data, then used a huge number of workstations and bladed servers - with 30,000 cores in total - to work on it. The NetApp filers were fitted with up to five 160GB DRAM cache accelerator cards in their controllers, the PAM (Performance Acceleration Modules) caches, to speed file access by the Weta creative people and the servers.

There is a certain balance to this when we recognize that the same OEM that has used Avatars for years has its equipment used in the production of a movie based on Avatars. At Zerowait, we still view our customers as individuals with specific needs. Probably there won't ever be a movie based on our customer service and support models.

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