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back to article Private cloud user in dialogue with Atmos, el Reg facilitating

Atmos user Michael Roney identified some difficulties he was having with an Atmos array on an EMC community website, saying he wanted to do ordinary-seeming things but couldn't. EMC has responded, saying he is trying to do things that are rarely, if ever done. Atmos is EMC's object storage system for public and private cloud …

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Silver badge

Changing IP addresses and removing old and broken authentication sources should be able to be done by anyone.

If your setup is so geared towards them never changing, then it's your problem to handle that when the administrator wants to do that (i.e. your software has to do all the fancy juggling and searching for those hard-coded strings elsewhere). But, personally, I'd just send it back as not fit for purpose.

If we were talking about a guy wanting to shove it into some completely unsupported configuration that shouldn't be possible, or tying into systems that he doesn't understand, EMC might have a case. But they're not. They're being asked to change an IP address and remove an authentication source that NO LONGER OPERATES.

Seriously, if you're hardware/software is that brain-dead that you don't pick this information up from a central configuration repository that can be changed at will by a privileged user, I'm not sure I'd want your kit near my systems.

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Boffin

Re: Lee Downing

Lee,

have you ever worked with an ATMOS? Have you ever set one up?

ATMOS systems come with a strict internal network that should not, or hardly change. The external network may change, but because it is relatively straightforward to change things to a wrong IP address, I can understand why EMC doesn't want anybody to just change an IP address on the system. There are upto 8 subsystems in 1 ATMOS installation, each of them having up to 4 IP addresses... Can be quite confusing if you're not really into the whole hardware aspect of an ATMOS system.

Authentication that no longer operates? Nobody said it no longer operates. The guy just wants to delete it. Fair enough. There is a risk involved in doing these operations: Deleting the wrong or the last auth source. Then what? Call EMC Support to hopefully gain access again? You might as well have called them to begin with.

I'm not saying ATMOS is the best ever Object Storage invented. It's a young product, and as such, will have to grow up in certain areas more than in others.

Still and yet, I would think that in order to cast an opinion, one would need to have worked with and understand the system that one casts an opinion about.

Regards,

Guus

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Silver badge

Re: Lee Downing

Would you like me to mirror a post I've just made on another site?

I do not need to be a paying customer of EMC to hold the opinion that their system is stupid if it's that unconfigurable (and where something as simple as changing an IP address might do anything that can't be undone by changing it back, or telling other systems about the change). If their systems are really that fragile that those IP's cannot be changed at will to suit the environment they are stored in (with suitable downtime and configuration, obviously), then it makes me worry that not only are they scamming the support ("Change a value in a configuration? Gosh, you'll have to pay us for that!") but that their products are not built to be customised in any way, shape or form, and also that they are doing things that are incredibly stupid to do (e.g. hard-coding addresses prior to shipping).

In the same way that I do not need to be a paying customer of Ferrari to think that their cars are gas-guzzling, or a paying customer of OnLive to express the opinion that it was set to fail from the start. Otherwise, opinions would be few and far between and only made by people with a vested interest in that opinion not making them look stupid for buying the product/service in the first place.

This is either a support-scam to change money to change a value in a box somewhere, or a complete ineptitude of design that doesn't take account that someone with appropriate permission, somewhere, sometime in the future might want to change IP's or even authentication on their devices. It would also make me wonder what happens when technology moves on - say you're starting an IPv6 migration. Are you then forced to use the addresses programmed into the device or pay someone to add that single configuration value for you because you didn't have it to hand when you bought the product?

Whatever way you look at it, it's ridiculous. That's not to say that it's not normal in some industries (a certain database vendor comes to mind) but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

"When creating subtenants, there is no selection box for the Authentication Source when using remote authentication. So, the subtenants are set to an Authentication Source that is not valid."

Suggests that a non-valid Authentication Source, which cannot be deleted, is present. And I would suggest that it no longer operates as an Authentication Source if it cannot be removed (security), or if it does not function (technicality).

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Anonymous Coward

Support Contract Lock-in?

What are their terms of support?

I am betting its not free to raise support tickets to get help to change an IP address?

Nice little earner. And I thought the company I worked for 'nickled and dimed' everyone!

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Boffin

Re: Support Contract Lock-in?

Dear AC,

obviously you have never worked with EMC. Nor with their support, nor with their sales.

EMC products are so dear to their customers that EMC provides support with the product. During the first 3 years that support is provided as part of the baseprice of the product one bought from EMC.

EMC Support has gained most of the 10 yearly Support Organization awards between 2000 and 2010.

They are the best in the world when it comes to Customer Support. Although they have been on a somewhat downward spiral, they seem to be doing the Right Thing(TM) again lately.

As with Lee, though, one has to have worked with EMC in order to cast an opinion about EMC.

Best regards,

Guus

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Support Contract Lock-in?

Your right, I've never touched EMC, which is why I asked.

Thanks for the info "During the first 3 years that support is provided as part of the baseprice of the product one bought from EMC"

Which is great, a reasonable approach to support.

My cynicism is a result of working with and for people who arent so reasonable :)

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Stop

Follow-on?

Dear Chris,

"Atmos is EMC's object storage system for public and private cloud providers. It is a follow-on to the Centera content-addressed storage (CAS) product which continues in production."

Not quite. ATMOS provides a similar high-level function (store objects and get a hash for their location), but that doesn't mean it's a follow-on from Centera. ATMOS is actually quite a separate product line from Centera. The team that built Gen 1 and Gen 2 ATMOS, of which I know at least 1 in person, had nothing to do with the Centera Team. The ATMOS is not geared towards the core functionality of a Centera, namely archiving. The ATMOS is geared towards delivering BLOBs in environment where the end-user does not (need to) know where the BLOB is actually located. BLOBs may have certain parameters like store-three-times and the ATMOSphere (a number of ATMOS systems working together), will make sure that the BLOB is stored in three different arrays. One can also specify store one copy in London, one in Tokyo and one in New York. The ATMOS keeps all three copies in sync. Should the New York ATMOS have failed disks, it will ask either London or Tokyo to provide their copy instead, without the end user needing to know (so there's no referal information visible to the user).

You might wanna get some sort of confirmation of what it is that you're writing about in order to fully understand what you are writing.

I do not believe that el Reg is facilitating the communication between EMC and the customer. EMC certainly is old and wise enough to communicate with its customer themselves. El Reg is not an ombudsman or similar organization to actually try and make sure that EMC is doing the Right Thing. Neither does EMC need El Reg to understand what the Right Thing would be in this case.

EMC is clearly stating that as part of the product development, certain features were left for EMC Support to have access to. There have been discussions about these features and the Product Development Team would have said: We don't want end-users to be able to do that just yet. What is so wrong about that? We are after all dealing with data that in all likelyhood does not belong to the people operating the ATMOS systems!!! So a certain degree of care with regards to data and access to that data is actually a Good Thing(TM).

Best Regards,

Guus

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Re: Follow-on?

Guus,

You make good points and your comment was an interesting and enjoyable read. Ombudsman we are not and wouldn't pretend to be. But we do like reporting interesting things and this surely is interesting.

Best wishes,

Chris.

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Affiliation with EMC

Sirs,

Just to make sure that everybody understands where I stand:

* I have been working for EMC in the past on three occassions: 2000 - 2001 for EMC Germany, 2006 for EMC Switzerland and in 2007 for EMC UK/Ireland.

* I have been working for EMC customers throughout those years and have gained indepth knowledge in most if not all EMC storage systems.

Currently I am working on a contract with HP UK Ltd for a client of theirs who needed some data migrations done on EMC arrays.

I am in no way currently depending on EMC to help me provide food for my family.

Best regards,

Guus

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Silver badge

Re: Affiliation with EMC

Ah, knew there would be a disclosure here somewhere, the papering-over-the-cracks-in-sanity was just too complete to be unscripted.

Your opinion is valid. So is mine. They are opinions, that's the point. Whose holds the most weight depends on the reader.

Personally, I just wrote you off as a corporate shill before I got to the second of your posts, but you can call me stupid for that if you like.

Anyone uses EMC but doesn't have a potential financial incentive to be nice to them like to express an opinion?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Affiliation with EMC

The difference here Lee, is that Guus appears to have an informed opinion, based on experience, and you appear to have an uninformed opinion, based on reading an article on the Register, and you're unwilling to hear that you may be uninformed, because you "feel" like you "must" be right.

*sigh*

I love people in IT,

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Anonymous Coward

Chill out! Sounding pretty aggressive there I would say. =) EMC, like all vendors, have their pros and cons. That the Atmos solution is inflexible in some ways appears to be one of them, and the reg is doing a good job of letting people know.

Don't see the reason for the long elaborate corporate texts. ;)

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FAIL

AC And Guus Leeuw disagree. El Reg Facilitating.

"and the reg is doing a good job of letting people know."

No it's not. That's the whole point... The article has "facilitating" in its title. "Facilitating" has a meaning: actively making sure that two parties, who are in obvious disagreement, talk to eachother (without actually judging either party before, during or after those talks). I'd like to see how and what took place with that "facilitating". That's not only far more interesting then just copying two statements from two people and asking your readership for their opinion, but also better if you put "El Reg Facilitating" in the title of your article.

Have a look at "Vorsicht Kunde" from the Heise Verlag in Germany. They do facilitating stuff, and report:

1) What happened to the customer (what was bought / sold / stated in the contract)

2) Who they contacted at the vendor

3) What that (vendor) contact actually did

4) If and how the case was resolved

Much better than "Oh look here, two people have a disagreement", wouldn't you say?

Regards,

Guus

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Silver badge

Poor Industry

One of the biggest problems in the IT sector is that managers write terribly useless messages (like in the article) but they get listened to because of their employers financials and education credentials and not on the merits of their performance.

The guy is complaining that it is hard to integrate his system. His customer support is wonky. Every IT professional deals with these things every day. If integration was simple we wouldn't need a tech support line or an IT Dept or even a CIO would we. Until things improve a LOT then we'll still need developers to help us out with getting them their paychecks.

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Go

I am no EMC expert...

...But I have some experience with object storage of other vendors/sources.

As far as my (limited?) experience is concerned I met just one vendor delivering a product whose maturity doesn't involve extra gimmicks from the part of administrators or data consumers.

Guus, in the name of data governance we can invoke no matter what good motivation for making life difficult to provoke collateral damage; nevertheless I suppose that a company investing in Atmos has done a comparable effort in choosing some responsible personnel administering it.

We don't know if this guy is switching, perhaps, from a test to a production environment, I , personally, would like to be informed, before I buy, that there is an overhead in deploying the system, it adds up to my TCO.

Thumbs up for the Register to report this.

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Pint

All this talk of ATMOS

and not one mention of Mr Potato Head in tacky blue armor? I am disappointed in you lot! And on a Friday, yet. Shameful.

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Alien

ATMOS?

Are we ready for the Sontaran invasion?

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A better story would have been more complete

The Atmos user complains that he can't do some things that he considers to be basic without the assistance and guidance of EMC support by opening up a call. Fair enough it can be annoying to have to call support and open a call and have to go through the hassle of providing details to your question.

But, a better story would have been for him to have actually done that and then describe why and what was done and if the support requirement had any validity and what if anything could be done to make life for an Atmos user easier.

Right now the story is really little more than a whinge.

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