Small Infrastructure, meet the Enterprise

I mentioned back in February that I was taking part in this year’s Tech Field Day: Boston. It’s coming up next week, and I’m preparing my research on some of the stuff we’ll be seeing.

I want to be up front with everyone. I probably have no business being there. If you click the above link and go to the delegate list, you will see a Who’s Who of experts in enterprise storage, networking, and virtualization. And then there’s me.

I have no deep knowledge of any of those. I’m neither a storage, network, or virtualization admin. I nearly declined the offer, because I wasn’t sure that I could offer anything.

I thought about it, and after discussing things with a friend of mine, he helped me realize that I’m not a storage, network, or virtualization admin. I’m ALL of them. No, I’m not an expert, but I do all of those things.

On this blog, one of my goals is to help make small infrastructures as reliable as large infrastructures, using as similar techniques as possible, and spreading knowledge of enterprise administrative practices among those of us without enterprise-sized networks. What better place to further those goals than in a situation entirely geared toward large networks?

Also, as my friend Andy mentioned to me, I’m duty-bound to represent small infrastructures (i.e. you who are reading this) to large vendors when I have the chance. And this is the chance.

  • Seems like more vendors are trying to crack the small business / small infrastructure market. The solution seems simple: saner prices and non-crap products. Saner prices are hard for companies already balls-deep in enterprise (where the big money, fewer buyers are).

    Dell’s figured it out by selling cheap servers that are fairly reliable (and screwing you on disk prices, but hey, can’t win everything). Vendors like Oracle may want to some day breach small shops, but the texas-sized license cost is (understatedly) infeasible.

    Nobody’s solved the non-crappy software problem ;)

  • Richard

    Yea go represent the admins who don’t have the opportunity to work with a professional focused on one particular field. I imagine the companies many of us work for who read the blog can’t afford (or choose to bring them in as contractors on big or emergency projects) specialists on payroll for every faucet of the IT dept. I know mine can’t ;D

  • Bill B

    If you’re looking to have a beer while you’re up here, hit me up. I live down the street.

  • I’ve always liked Cisco’s approach to small business…

    Although their prices are high, there is value in being able to choose the low-end of a line of routers and switches and have them work and configure much like their higher end counterparts. I do not necessarily like having to switch vendors and product lines to gain increased functionality.

    It allows us, as admins, to shift from small to medium and larger infrastructure easily. Pick up an ASA 5505 … in a year if you add users, buy a 5510, get even bigger? Get a 5520. Your knowledge transfers and allows you to scale without having to be retrained (much) on a new piece of hardware.

    I would like to see this in storage as well. There is a disconnect in knowledge between many small infrastructure admins and their enterprise cousins. Seems as though things like storage area networking and direct attached storage are a completely different ball-game compared to what some smaller admins use.

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