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Yet Another (ex-)VC Blog

Cloud computing, startups, and venture capital

Archive for October 2010

Super geeky, super cool disk storage stuff

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Apparently disk drives have all kinds of cool things they can do besides reporting your typical “OMG I’m going to fail soon!” messages. Seagate reports that nearly 80% of the “failed” disks they receive are actually fine. They cannot find any issues whatsoever. What does Seagate do with those disks? They remanufacture them and toss them back into the “refurbished” bin.

Although the disk has the capability to “remanufacture” itself in the firmware, it cannot be done inside your traditional array. The vibration is simply too high to do this reliably. A typical shelf full of rotating disks vibrates at over 40 rads (units of rotational vibration). When a dozen or more disks are all rotating at the same speed, in the same direction, it’s not hard to imagine the vibration in a tray of disks. Xiotech actually mounts its disks so that they are counter-rotating. One disk rotates clockwise, and the disk beside it is mounted so that the rotation is in the other direction. This reduces vibration inside the Xiotech box to 2 rads. This means they can reliably remanufacture a disk inside the box while the array is in operation.

Cool huh?

via The Spinning Disk’s Stay of Execution | virtual insanity.

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Written by John Gannon

October 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Datadog and DevOps

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Based on what I see in the video embedded below, the Datadog team has developed a dashboard that can be used jointly by development and infrastructure operations teams to get a holistic view of everything that’s going on in the stack.  This challenge (the interaction between application developers and infrastructure operations, or rather, the lack of it) is very real, and I see it every day in my day job.   So, I always like to see when a startup (especially a NYC-based one) is building tooling to help bridge this gap.

It is hard to tell from the video how much of the product is focused on analysis versus aggregation and presentation of statistics.  Certainly there is value in correlating various statistics from different web services (e.g. money spent on AWS correlated with a spike in site traffic captured by Google Analytics) but the greater value would be in crunching the data and making predictions (or taking pre-emptive action).  Maybe the idea is that a dashboard is provided for free, with analytics available for a fee?

Another question that came to mind when watching the video was: “Who is the customer?” Is it the application developer, the system administrator, or both?  My gut tells me infrastructure folks would be the ones to get excited about this product, as they are generally spending lots of time looking at various metrics, reports, and charts, and trying to correlate behaviors between different areas of the infrastructure.   Anything that can help them pick up on correlations or trends is of value.  However, application developers who are running their application on a IaaS platform might appreciate this data as well, since they may not have system administration staff to support them.

This dual focus leads to some questions around the customer acquisition strategy and positioning.  Even in a world where DevOps is beginning to see traction, there is still a line of demarcation between application developers and infrastructure operations people.  Each group has a distinct set of needs, and a product that tries to cater to both groups might not catch on with either one.   I’m sure Datadog will address this question in the coming months as they move from Alpha into wider distribution.

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Written by John Gannon

October 17, 2010 at 11:12 am

Powerset’s founder on cult creation i.e. hiring process

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When you are building your team, be relentless, be a hiring monster and never let go of someone once you know you want them.

via blognewcomb – essays – Cult Creation.

Written by John Gannon

October 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm

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So true

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In a big company with a direct salesforce the key to product success is not customer mindshare. It’s salesforce mindshare.The salesforce and the sales engineers are in the trenches with the customers. They see the opportunities. They have the customer’s ear.

via Donatelli’s $2B bet.

Written by John Gannon

October 11, 2010 at 9:19 pm

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Good advice for people seeking VC or startup jobs

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Show interest, become part of the community. The more hardcore you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.

via Immerse Yourself | Get Venture.

Written by John Gannon

October 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm

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Nagging and timing – Groupon’s secret?

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You can try to optimize your features and product to death. But maybe all you need is well timed nagging.

via Groupon daily emails and RSS feeds, a lesson in nagging and timing – Sachin’s Posterous.

Written by John Gannon

October 6, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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