So whistleblowers that make the government money get paid a portion of the proceeds. Whistleblowers that detail how the government is eradicating the rights of it's own people go to prison.
7021 posts • joined 31 May 2010
So whistleblowers that make the government money get paid a portion of the proceeds. Whistleblowers that detail how the government is eradicating the rights of it's own people go to prison.
Just because the US of NSA has allowed itself to deteriorate doesn't make it civilized. It's not. It's a shithole. An uncivilized shithole that is losing any shred of decency it may once have had.
If my country follows, it too won't be fit to call civilized either. Civilizations work collaboratively for the good their people. The US of NSA gave that up some time ago. As is very clearly evidenced by the unrepentant - even proud - selfishenss of some of the commentards here.
I've never been more disappointed in humanity than I am today.
If "Following Orders" is the only way to put food on the table, ethics kind of takes second priority.
That worldview is fucking appalling. Jesus H mother of goddamned donkeyfucking christ, what the hell happened to us that we've forgotten so much, so fast?
Holy wow. Just wow.
Bad IT in a car can indeed kill people.
Bad IT in planes has killed people.
Bad IT in medical equipment has killed people.
Bad IT in AI-equipped auto-death weapons inevitably will kill people.
And on and on and on....
Assuming your take on things to be correct, how is it rational to take a job knowing that there will be a lax attitude to security, this will lead to security breaches and you, as the minion "just following order" will be the schlub on the hook to take the blame?
How is it rational to say "I'll take some easy money now, knowing that there is a really good risk that shit will hit the fan, I'll get blamed, and end up unemployable in this field forever after that point"? Wouldn't it make more sense to put your labour into another profession where you can actually expect long term employment, instead of an abrupt, messy - and potentially expensive - sacking, followed by being reverted to essentially "unskilled labour"?
We'll have to agree to disagree, Charles 9; I don't consider shitholes particularly civilized. I mean, look at the US of NSA...
@AC Well, at least you're honest. That's not really much of a consolation, but there is that one, small redeeming quality.
I think did answer it: because, apparently, IT is filled with people perfectly willing to put their own desires before the lives of others. Just shrug off any responsibility. You're just following orders.
That's not a civilized country. That's a shithole.
I disagree. Legislation to make information security failures the responsibility of the executive layer personally would stop this almost overnight. The other alternative would be legal recognition of professional associations and banning individuals from working in the field who weren't members. Those associations would then boot out anyone who didn't follow ethical guidelines.
Engineering in civilized countries functions this way. It's time to apply this to development, and IT in general.
So..fuck the customer, the population at large and everyone, everywhere, only you and your job matter?
Sorry, but this one is actually worth fighting for. And it is worth organizing professional associations for. And worth putting time and effort into.
Or maybe you just want to wait until the price of individual selfishness and cowardice on behalf of developers is measured in bodies. How many people's lives is your job worth? Hmm? How many injuries and maimings does it take before you exit your comfort zone? How many people need to face financial ruination before you speak out?
or do you somehow think that, because you're "just following orders" you aren't to blame? That it's only the fault of the higher-ups who pushed back on you over and over to get it done quicker, and you folded like a cheap tent every time?
Do you feel you bear no responsibility whatsoever for the results of your work?
You're absolutely correct. It can get you fired. So you have to make the choice: do you care only about yourself? Or do you have a responsibility to others? I argue that we all have a responsibility to others not to let companies ignore security. Even if it cost us our jobs.
If we were able to make professional ethics a legal requirement for our professions they wouldn't be able to fill those positions with people willing to break with ethics for corporate profit. Not if they wanted to be allowed to keep practicing, anyways.
A combination of legislation and a unified stance is required for this to work.
Who is asking they be fixed "in a week"? The issue is taking information security seriously and doing everything reasonably possible to ensure that it not be given lip service only. For a company Oracle's size, that absolutely includes bug bounties.
But bug bounties aren't the real issue. The Oracle-class stupidity is bemoaning user and researcher attempts to discover bugs in the first place. The concept that a company's need to protect its intellectual property and/or near-monopoly with an EULA should come before security is not only assinine, it is dangerous.
Oracle has been pretty clear about putting security far behind commercial interests for a very long time now. This lady has just been the first to be honest about it. And they threw her under the yacht for doing so!
If yoru software is so awful that you have a "line of CVSes to fix" then you should be out there, fixing those. They shouldn't stay unfixed for ages. And you shouldn't be objecting to people adding new ones to the list.
More to the point, you should have layers of QA, proper unit tests and proper security testing before things go out so that the number of CVSes starts dropping over time.
I don't expect any company to magically solve all security problems over night. I don't expect all code to be without flaw. I absolutely do expect companies - especially large ones - to make security the primary priority. Ahead of new features. Ahead of release dates. Ahead of any other priority in their software.
Corporate profit should not come before information security, especially for vendors as large (and profitable) as Oracle. The hell of it is that it doesn't take a whole lot of investment to resolve this. For a company Oracle's size adding a few hundred extra bodies to security testing design and then to QA (those who implement the tests) and drawing out releases a little so that the bugs can be solved before going out...that's nothing.
And throwing a few measly million at the research community to find bugs in your software is a minor expense for an Oracle. Especially since the stuff the researchers find is going to be the same stuff so easily visible to blackhats using those very same techniques.
Nobody should get to avoid responsibility for security just because they believe they have a $deity-given right to ignore security in the quest for money.
Well, I use OpenWRT. So that's upgradable. Not everyone is allowed to do this, however. My ISP, for example, usually freaks out if you don't use their shitty Actiontec modem/gateways. I was able to score an appropriate VDSL2 modem-only unit from ebay and put my own router behind it. But what if I had had an Actiontec? I can't really do much to it. I'd be entirely at the mercy of the ISP.
This is a really bad situation.
Actually, we are working on HTTPS for all our sites. (There are about 12, including trevorpott.com)
The issue we're facing is one of limited IP addresses. I know that HTTPS should work with multiple sites to a single IP on newer browsers, but I would really like to ensure that we have backwards compatibility support. So I'm in the process of evaluating load balancers and how it is they might (or might not) solve the problem.
In the meantime, we have (to my knowledge) removed from all our sites any member sign-ups on publicly published pages. We have informed our existing members that we're looking to alter our entire security stance on the sites, including eventually altering where the login pages are, switching to .hta access and more.
We've been mostly working on behind the scenes security in the past month. Database and operating system hardening. Automated updates for Wordpress. Security plugin testing and hardening for wordpress. Selective writelock cascades for any site which doesn't have to be writable for that particular timeframe...we've also gone over the code and the databases to make sure we weren't pwned at any point in the past.
Because we aren't in the process of building an active forum presence that requires readers to sign up or subscribe, bur primary focus from a security standpoint has been to ensure that we aren't hosting malicious stuff that could infect readers. HTTPS support is on the list in the near term, but as the sites are (at the moment) publicly facing read-only (rather than interactive) sites, we felt the other security issues had priority.
If you feel there is a really good reason to push HTTPS above the rest of our security efforts to get it done sooner, please, make your case! We're entirely open to it!
Hence why I think both legislation and grassroots nerdrage are required. Corporates are not going to give fucks without both things occurring.
Fortunately, I don't have to make that choice. The Register is, in fact, working on HTTPS support (or so I have been told). But you know what? Yeah. In the long run, if I couldn't convince them that it mattered - especially for a technology site! - I'd probably take my content elsewhere. I don't want to, but I really do think ethics matter.
Someone has to say "no, I won't take that job". I've started to do just this with some of my sysadmin clients. I think it's valid to think about it applying to writing, too.
There is room for discussion about taking things to extremes though. If your employer is making headway and clearly working on the problem, it's probably not going to help anything if you pull the rip cord. But if they just stubbornly don't care about their customers to the point that they ignore security why would you believe they give a bent damn about you?
But before we can hammer out these sorts of fine details we need to start having the discussion about infosec professional ethics in the first place. Glad to see some readers are willing to join in.
Yep. That's a big problem right there. I don't really have a solution to that. Maybe it requires an extrovert to start taking a stand so the rest will follow. Maybe it requires massive encouragement across the industry. Maybe social media can help. But we need to get everyone - even the introverts - to stop allowing badness to ensue through apathy. If anyone comes up with magical solutions to motivate, I'd love to hear them! :)
Hah! Fair point. I think of TLS as "SSL" even though I know the difference. Same purpose, same libraries, same modules...guess I'm just getting old; conflating things that are "close" because of implementation rather than provenance.
A) OCZ chose to use Sandforce
B) OCZ handled the whole even completely fucking atrociously and they deserved to have been run out of business for that. It is a crime against consumers that they were purchased.
OCZ purchased something from a supplier, put it together and sold it to customers. It was defective. They denied this up and down and then they were awful to customers. Even after it was undeniable, they continued to be terrible. Sorry mate, there is absolutely nothing defensible about OCZ. One of the worst, most awful storage companies in all of tech history, full stop.
OCZ didn't take a huge hit for selling bad flash. They took a huge hit for denying the issue repeatedly and loudly and treating victims of the flaw like shit. OCZ were (and who knows, maybe still are) run by utter twatdangles and how they handled the whole affair will end up in multiple text books about how not to do things in the modern world. Or any world.
The same Carly who demanded that Apple, Google et al simply give up all user data without a fight?
So many flavours of fuck you if you support her. Fuck you in flavours.
I have considered it. I have given their testing methodologies a cursory overview based on what they make available publicly and found that the results I can achieve with those methods more or less line up with what they publish.
The whole incident has piqued my interest for deeper research, however, and I am hoping to pursue this behind the scenes with them over the coming weeks. I have a call scheduled with them at the end of the week, hopefully I'll learn more.
Overall, however, their results have tended to be among the most "realistic" I've seen. They most closely match the "real world tests" that I do; tests that tend to be around 1/3rd the headline achievable IOPS or throughput, usually because real world tests aren't 100% one (IOPS) or the other (throughput).
This confusion is also why many of us in the testing community really do want an open, affordable, standardized set of tests that the industry as a whole can agree upon.
Again, you are mistaken that this as is all about you. This isn't your lawn and your aren't a part of The Register, you write guest contributed, unpaid content and you comment on the message boards.
I'm not a part of The Register? I have 418 articles published here. I've been writing here for over 5 years. At what point are you "part of" a publication, hmm?
Also: my articles are unpaid? That's news to me. And my bookkeeper. And my 4 employees. Because it seems to me we invoice The Register for rather a lot of money. Which is nice. As it does things like pay our mortgages.
It's a hot topic and you want to wave your flag, we get it.
It's a boring topic that the overwhelming majority of Register readers don't give a flying fuck about. Some do, but there's only about 800K - 1M that seem to care enough to poke their noses in on this, and fewer still who care to comment.
And again, you're wrong, I really don't want to "wave my flag" here. People like you whoa re assholes on the internet, make it a very unpleasant topic to write about. I've gotten death threats because I have written something that someone doesn't like; most of the negative feedback begin from the zealots that inhabit the storage industry.
I don't even like storage. I got sucked into being a storage blogger/analyst/whatever-the-fuck-I-am entirely against my will. And once sucked in, I learned fast. Now people see me as "knowledgeable" on the topic and seek me out at an ever increasing rate for advice.
But I hate storage. I really, really do. It's boring and the people are mean.
There are much better things to write about. Things that actually interest me. DevOps. SDN/NFV. Compute hardware. Above all else: security. These are my actual passions. They also "get the clicks" as it were.
Sadly, storage needs a shit disturber or twenty. Your own douchetastic response is exactly why. Zealotry and misinformed ad homenim too often take the place of reasoned discourse, as your perpetual firehose of haterade so ably demonstrates.
But it's not even necessary, you have a voice here and you post regularly on The Register. I'm not trying to shut you up, I'm simply suggesting you chill out and let others chime in without sucking all of the oxygen out of the room by responding to every single comment.
But you are trying to shut me up. That is exactly what you are doing. You feel somehow that you, personally, have a right to dictate when and where I should be allowed to speak. What gives you the right to determine the context of my speech? And why shouldn't I be allowed to participate in discussions both from an official platform (as a writer for The Register) and from an unofficial platform (as a commenter on The Register)?
The various mediums available to me - numerous places where I publish my articles, Twitter, my own personal blog, various comments sections, forums and message boards - all offer me the chance to approach topics in various ways. Some allow me to advance my personal opinion in a more unbridled fashion than others. Some have a mass audience while some a more select one.
There is an entire internet available for you to vent your hate and spew forth opprobrium. Yet here you are, on my digital lawn, trying to tell me what to do.
Given the context there is only one appropriate response: go fuck yourself, asshole.
And maybe, just maybe, you should actually add something useful to the conversation. If anything is sucking the oxygen out of the room it is your worthless personal attacks and pitiful demands for censorship.
The route to people valuing your opinions is to contribute something meaningful, not restricting who can talk until yours is the loudest voice left. If your ego needs satiating, satisfy it somewhere else.
I also just want to back up what Satinder is saying. Tintri have been absolutely amazing about testing their units. They've given me a completely free hand. (I hope to have the review out this Monday, as a matter of fact.)
I have found some flaws with Tintri's implementation. But I've found a crazy amount of good. Tintri has not shackled me with restrictions on testing or on publishing. They've let me toss a unit into production, run every synthetic I can on it, and abuse it in every way. They've made an SE available to me for any questions and shown me how they prefer to benchmark things, but not insisted this be the only path.
I've learned a lot about storage from them. Just as I have from every really good storage company I've worked with. They have fantastic engineers who have taken the time to get really in depth on things I don't understand, or flat out get wrong.
(Side note: I will disagree with Satinder on the utility of SQLIO. Even full of 0s, it's great for testing the network portion of shared storage, and it is also possible to replace the all-0s file with a randomly-generated one so that you are hammering with more than just 0s. I find it a useful tool, if used correctly. That said, Tintri's "Tingle" load generator is actually pretty cool, and a useful item that the whole industry should be using.)
Another thing that Satinder said is important here: education. Of customers and of reviewers. You can't review storage properly if you honestly think you have nothing new to learn. Each storage offering is different. Not only that, but tools to generate and test load are constantly evolving.
Many vendors - like Tintri - do an excellent job of educating, so it behooves anyone (customer or reviewer) who is doing testing to really listen through the various presentations.
The truth is that there is a lot of good storage out there. Hyperconverged, scale out, object and legacy alike. There are a lot of great companies peddling that storage. More to the point, the market for storage is huge, and continually growing.
We shouldn't need to have the petty rivalries that have developed, or be getting bogged down in who is allowed to review what by which means. We should be educating people as to which test are best to simulate (or test) what components of storage. We should be verifying our synthetics with real world workloads. And we should all be absolutely open and honest about the results because it is how we all - vendor, reviewer and customer alike - learn, adapt, and ensure the next round of products are better than the last.
@Virtualgeek: great response. Truly. I have nothing negative to say to that, it's absolutely spot on. It's why I insist on running real world test with workloads I know inside and out (from having run them for 11+ years in production) alongside the benchmarks. There's a lot more to testing storage than synthetics. (See; iSCSI microburst issues with switches; something we don't have standardized tests for yet!)
1) "Profane" language can be used for either emphasis or to provoke a response. It works well in both cases.
2) "Profane"? What era are you from? What was it like watching them invent the steam engine?
3) Yes, I like arguing. Especially with people who like to jump right in on personal attacks.
4) There are rather a lot of people on these forums who post on behalf of their employers. There are also a bunch who are irrational brand tribalists. I see no reason to treat either category as anything other than hostile.
By all means, post things I disagree with. In case you didn't notice, I not only admit that I can be wrong, I tend to point out where and when I feel it is possible that I am wrong, and I will even post information from external sources when I feel that information has come to light which brings my own dialogue into question. (See: posting Chuck's e-mail as an example).
Just because I don't think you are right about your inane blitherings - or that I troll you because you're a douche - doesn't mean I am somehow unaware of my own fallibility or am unwilling to admit it. It really just means I think you haven't clue one what you, personally, are prattling on about.
Also: fuck, shit, ass, and cockmongling cuntpotato! Just because you like the profane.
There is a difference between "difficult to work with" from a technology side and "difficult to work with" from a people side. Lots of companies have decent-to-good tech but miserable people. Plenty of companies have middling-to-miserable tech but great people.
Great tech can make up for miserable people and great people can make up for miserable tech. The exact mixture that works for one company may not work for another because requirements for uptime, support responsiveness an other such things can vary dramatically.
The biggest warning sign I can give is to take a good look at the executive layer. Especially of small companies. If the executives - most critically the CEO and CTO - are "high touch" individuals, you're in trouble. The worst thing in tech is an engineer CEO who won't let the various division heads (sales/marketing/QA/channel/etc) do their jobs unhindered.
High-touch CEOs are a screaming alarm bell warning about oncoming icebergs.
Tech is a tricky business, and I find more companies getting the "people" part of it wrong than those that get it right. Oddly enough, getting the "technology" part right seems easy. There are lots of companies with great technology. It is in managing staff, customer and community expectations - and coping with extremes of emotion from all sides - that tech companies fall down.
Unfortunately, too many in tech think that "the human factor" is irrelevant. Until, of course, it isn't. At which point it's probably too late.
Nail on the head. And this is why I feel that more than just synthetics are required for a full testing suite to be accurate for this space. Maybe you should be out there doing testing, eh?
Including this comment, there are 30 comments on this board. ****11 are from Trevor**** WTF?
It's really not that hard to understand: The Register is my digital lawn. I've been a commenttard - and quite frankly, troll - about these parts for roughly a decade. That gold badge my posts sport? Only 10 of us have them.
In addition, I write for The Register, so I have even more reason to hang out on the forums. Add in the fact that storage and virtualization have been my areas of research and specialty for the past 3-ish years and, actually, it would be pretty odd if I weren't all over this like white on rice.
Now, normally, I'd make a few pithy comments and leave. Some people made replies worth replying to, so that ups my count a bit.
Now you, you seem to get angry if I post. I"d say I'm sorry you don't like me, but the truth of it is you're really quite being a dick, so I'm actually quite happy that I upset you. It's not like someone is forcing you to read the forums. Or The Register. Or to sit in front of the computer at all.
It's not like you are forced to acknowledge my existence or tolerate my opinions. You have infinite choices regarding how you might ignore me. You can shape and craft your own world so that no dissenting opinions enter your consciousness.
Hell, there are seven billion people on this planet: you can choose to shape your whole life such that you never encounter any opinion that you don't like. You choose to put yourself in situations where you are exposed to ideas and individuals who upset you.
And so, I'm going to keep posting. You don't intimidate me. You don't shame me. You don't make me feel guilty. But it's absolutely crystal clear that I have struck a nerve. And that means I should keep digging, because the more ardently someone wants me to not talk about something the more important is usually is that I do.
Cheers, and thanks for helping me set my research priorities for the next several months.
I'll be sure to be quite loud about broadcasting my results.
If you deride someone by name then go on to attempt to deride others without listing their names it helps for clarity to either be explicit that you aren't continuing your derision of the first person or to clarify whom you are now deriding.
It's also generally considered good form to use your real name when you deride someone, otherwise you really do just come across as nothing more than a petty Anonymous Coward.
Also: this "message board"? It's my back yard. I'll do what I like on my own lawn mate. Go get your own.
Perhaps Trevor could do an article on the benchmarks in question, and how well what they tested reflected the sorts of things which customers actually cared about.
Well, I was going to. But both VMware and Nutanix have potentially disruptive offerings coming out in the near term. I think I'll wait until those land, then throw a month or two at it.
Ceph. Oh god. So many brokens. So much slow. So much potential. So terrible right now.
1) Trevor, great feedback but this isn't about you. You have the benefit of writing a post on The Register any time you want so I don't understand why you would empty your laundry on a message board. Grow up.
Why would this be about me? Where did I say it was about me? In pretty much every single post in this thread I have stated explicitly that I am a nobody and that I both understand if vendors don't want me to test things and am entirely okay with that, so long as there are other, more important, and - most critically - credible independent testers who are allowed to do the testing.
I don't see how relating my experiences makes this "about me". It is simply providing more data.
If you average all the readers I have across all the places I write I have an audience of about 15 million. That may not be a lot, but it's enough that I could have been much louder and more dickish about this issue. Still, I felt that the discussion needed - and does need - to be had.
I know from experience that if I reply to a major article in The Register those comments will be read by relevant people at those companies. Social media teams are actually quite good these days. So I chose this method because of the limited scope of impact it would have while still getting my point across to the relevant people. It seems like an acceptable compromise.
2) About the test: VMmark (the test Storage Review uses) is a VERY GOOD measure of real world environments and is as close as you are going to get in a test environment. Those who say you cannot effectively test for real world results are spewing vendor FUD. You clearly haven't used VMmark.
Where did I say VMmark wasn't good? It's not the be-all and end-all of tests, but it sure is a great synthetic! I heartily approve of its use as one part of a larger suite of tools.
3) Nutanix response to the testing is abhorrent and they deserve all the backlash they get. It speaks about the company, their technology, their culture and yes, their employees. There is never a shortage of Nutanix employees talking badly about the competition and, like roaches, they disappear when the light is cast on them.
VMware is not remotely immune to talking smack about competitors...even when they aren't willing or able to fully back it up. The whole industry is a clusterfuck of egotism and douchebaggery.
Hence the need for independent testing.
P.S. If you're going to cast aspersions on someone have the genitals to use your real name.
Might it be so that because, in your own words, you are a nobody, that both Nutanix and VMware don't really want to spend valuable marketing $$'s on you performing tests that no sizeable crowd is ever going to read?
Absolutely. I 100% accept this as plausible, and I don't honestly take issue with either or both companies deciding that I am irrlevant.
I absolutely do take issue with them not working with the more important members of the independant testing community, and I haven't talked at all here about what they tell me about interacting with either company.
This is just my polite way of saying that you maybe should tone it down a little?
And as such I'm not basing my purchases on FUD from any website, or person but just test the stuff myself before any PO leaves my desk.
Where did I ask you to base anything you're doing on what I wrote here? I asked that you - and everyone else - test for yourselves. I asked that you ask hard questions. I am listing here my issues, just as others are starting to do, in the hopes that when it comes time for you to make purchasing decisions you take the time to remember these events and you to a more rigorous POC than maybe you otherwise would have done.
This isn't about my ego. Nobody with self-esteem as low as I have can really have much of an ego. This is honestly about just wanting to do well by others. I'm sorry you feel offended by that.
If I'd wanted to make a gigantic mess out of this I could have posted an article on The Register and put this in front of 9 million readers. As it is, less than 1% of The Register's readership uses the comments section.
By choosing to talk about this in the comments section of an article I know that the major players at both companies - as well as most of the independent testing community - will read, I am restricting the impact of my being shouty whilst still making my point to the right people.
We'll have to disagree here. I don't believe VMware are going to be in the pole position, because I don't believe VMware have an awareness of the market required to make the cultural changes that will allow them to take that position. Nutanix, for all their flaws, are the dominant play by a country frigging mile. And they are not lax. You seem to have a real hate on for them, but there's nothing at all to indicate they will crumple up and die, as you seem to hope.
Chuck Hollis of VMware has read this comment thread and sent me an e-mail. His opinion and views on the matter - and on my comments above - are valid and deserve to be included in this dicussion. I am reproducting the e-mail chain here.
Chuck Hollis to Trevor Pott
It was interesting to read your recent comments on The Register regarding the latest Nutanix snafu.
But I think you've completely mis-understood (and mis-represented) our stance on performance testing. We encourage it, not discourage it.
We've published oodles of our own data. We've published data from customers. We've encouraged StorageReview.com to publish. Etc. etc. etc. The more the merrier.
All we ask is a chance to review the configs and methodologies prior to publication -- which has been VMware's policy for many, many years. Lots of people are new to this testing thing.
We plan to release an easy-to-use testing tool (based on VDbench) to help make it easier for folks to test hyperconverged clusters with a variety of IO profiles. You, of course, are free to use it -- as will anyone else.
Or use your own tools. Have at it -- really!
However, we don't have much of a budget to send people free hardware. We're tapped out for the year, unfortunately, so you'd have to round up your own four-node config that conformed to the VMware VSAN HCL and design guidelines. Dell may be willing to play, or perhaps HP or similar.
Nor do we generally pay for reviews, as that's a slippery slope.
I hope you understand our position here, and can perhaps soften some of your comments to more accurately reflect reality?
Trevor Pott to Chuck Hollis (reply)
While your take on this does not reflect my experiences with VMware in this regard. We appear to have dramatically different understandings of the meaning of "chance to review the configs and methodologies prior to publication". I view independent reviewing – especially of software solutions like VSAN – to be fair game if you test multiple options on the same hardware. Doubly so if the individual components are on the HCL.
VMware seems to disagree, and has insisted that individual components being supported isn't good enough: the whole of the thing must meet the desired qualities. Slower CPUs, for example, are apparently not okay.
That said, I don't have to agree with your take on this for it to be valid. I have my view and I have expressed it. It is entirely possible that my views or understanding is wrong, and I'm willing to admit that possibility.
I will publish your e-mail in the comments as it is entirely valid that you get the change to rebut what I have said, along with this response. The readers will decide.
For the record: I never wanted – and don't really want – extra hardware to do testing. I will absolutely test whatever hardware comes my way, but for the love of $deity I have 10x as much server widgetry as I could ever conceivably use. I've also not asked to be paid for reviews by you or by Nutanix. I've offered several times to do independent testing for free in order to help put this debate to rest.
What I want – all I've ever wanted – is the chance to test hardware, software and services that I think my readers or my clients (or preferably both) will care about. I want to dig to find the truth of the gear that real systems administrators use, because it is those sysadmins that I feel a kinsip with, and it is those sysadmins that I feel I serve.
It is worth discussing the issues surrounding vendor control over reviews via an exercise of their legal rights. I believe it is perfectly valid for VMware to want to review the configuration and methodology of a review of their software. I don't believe, however, that they should have the opportunity to deny things just because they won't show that software in the best possible light.
It is absolutely valid to test non-optimal configurations and report the results of that testing. In the real world, lots of people live outside pre-canned, certified solutions. HCLs exist for a reason: they are a recognition of this fact and a publicly visible list of not just entire servers that are certified, but individual components, for those who are colouring outside the lines a little.
I view VMware's VSAN team as spectacularly hard to work with in a way that the rest of VMware isn't, specifically because of the level of control they insist on having over reviews. VMware's VSAN team don't seem to view their efforts as an attempt at control, but as an attempt at quality assurance and review integrity.
If I am being honest, then I cannot say that I have the answer to which view is right. My views are deeply rooted in my own past as an SMB sysadmin, which is tied to a need to know how things work when you can't afford to pay top dollar (and high margins) for everything. I feel that is a world that needs to be quantified, and I spend most my year trying to answer those questions for other sysadmins.
VMware's views are influenced by their own needs, but I must admit their take is objectively no less valid. I think readers should read all of this. Not just this thread, but many of the other threads that are associated on various blogs across the virtualization blogosphere.
I am one voice with one set of experiences. There are other voices with other points of view. Decide for yourselves. Test for yourselves.
I look forward to using both VMware and Nutanix's testing tools in my future HCI testing just as soon as they become generally available.
Storage Howard Marks has a mightier beard than Weed Howard Marks.
Also a wizard hat. The wizard hat is important.
In theory I agree, but there's two problems.
1) Where do you get the money for a "sizable budget"?
2) When reviewing technology products you are bound by the EULAs of those products - especially in the United States - which often state that you are not allowed to review that product without permission.
You don't own VMware's ESXi just because you bought a license. And they can come after you with a fist full of lawyers if they don't like what you write.
We all have to make compromises in order to review things. The compromise I choose to make is that I will sit on endless briefings and play politics and try to work with vendors to find testing regimens that both meet their requirements and that I, in my professional capacity, feel adequately represent the product.
I don't let vendors push me around on my reviews and water them down. If I find bad things, I report that.
Unfortunately, it also means that sometimes vendors exercise their right not to engage with me or to prevent me from publishing. So there are hardware and software items which I have reviewed which never got published. I don't like it, but that is a better choice than compromising my ethics and publishing cherry-picked reviews.
Now, I don't have the clout or pull of Storage Review, or Howard Marks or any of the other big names. I still have to fight and claw and politic. But there are people out there who absolutely do try their damnedest to be independent. Hans De Leneer's take on this is really worth reading, as he discusses this concept at further length.
The short version is: no, nobody is truly independent because our laws prevent such independence. Beyond that, the part where there are no independently wealthy people willing to spend a few million a year buying and testing equipment is a damper on absolute independence as well.
Within the constraints of those two issues, however, I (perhaps egotistically) like to think many of the reviewers available in the storage and virtualization space do a damned fine job of maintaining their objectivity.
I say the above not only as a reviewer and a writer, but as an editor for my own technology outfit who has had to go to the mattresses for one of my writers. That writer bought a device with his own cash, wrote a review that absolute panned the device, and the company freaked out. Fortunately, there was no EULA item that allowed a legal avenue of attack at the time. But there are few things that will make you sweat quite so much as having to play that game of chicken, I promise you.
I'd be a bit obsessed with any company that was this much of a pain in the ass on a daily basis.
Except that's crazy. I can't think or be like that. I'd go mad in very short order.
There are a bunch of storage and virtualization companies that are decent to work with, but make no mistake most tech companies are horrible to work with. Working with tech companies is my job. No matter how dickish they are, it is my duty to my readers to suck it up and work with every vendor, regardless of my personal feelings.
No one is 100% objective, but it is my job to try as hard as I possibly can to be so. That means I can't allow myself to become "obsessed" with any company.
Though, following on from the previous thread and discussion, Nutanix is a big deal and you need to learn to deal with that. They are a huge company that is actually selling rather a lot of gear to a number of different clients. They will be around for a long time. And unlike many others they are more than their initial base product (hyperconvergence) and are putting a lot into R&D.
I know you want to dismiss them - and HCI in general - as irrelevant. Too bad. They're not. Nutanix may be a pain in the ass, but they're here to stay. Saying this isn't "obsession", it's objective assessment of the facts.
Where is storage review - or any of us - going to get the money to buy a Nutanix node on the open market? Also, you do realize that VMware will sue you into oblivion if you publish test results that they don't approve of.
I tried to work with VMware. My lab is here. I built much of it in order to test Maxta and other HCI vendors. I tried to get permission from VMware to test VSAN. They didn't want me to test on VSAN unless I replicated their internal configurations exactly, including CPUs much faster than i could possibly afford.
I told VMware that I couldn't do that. Money was a very real issue. I was subsequently given a not-at-all-subtle warning against YOLOing testing on VSAN.
Now how am I, or Storage Review, or any of the other analysts supposed to afford to buy a Nutanix cluster? Or EVO:RAIL? Or SimpliVity? If the vendor doesn't play ball and send a unit in for testing we just can't do it. (Unless they are software-only. Most of us have or are building HCI-compatible labs that can do software-only solutions for multiple vendors.)
Nutanix and VMware are the HCI companies that are hard to work with regarding reviews and testing. The rest have proven to be amazing. (Though to be fair, Nutanix has a great relationship with Storage Review that they don't seem to have with many others, so go Storage Review!)
Make of that what you will.
We’re committed to working with independent third-party evaluation labs like Storage Review to compare our solution against any hyperconverged product using comparable hardware and a comprehensive and representative testing methodology.
The current generation of methodologies does not adequately represent how hyperconverged solutions perform in real-world customer environments. We feel strongly that utilising outdated test tools and methodologies would not provide customers interested in hyperconverged solutions with relevant and indicative data.
As indicated by Lukas, we’re building an open, comprehensive test suite for this category that we feel will help customers better understand the performance of hyperconverged solutions. We’ll demonstrate it at the Nutanix booth at VMworld and will release it in September so anyone in the industry can use it.
In the meantime, we’ll continue talking to Storage Review and any other third parties about working together on a review that will benefit both the industry and customers evaluating hyperconverged solutions.
Bullshit. Bull fucking shit. Bullshit of the highest order. Liar, liar pants on goddamned fire.
Maybe you are building a test suite, but it sure isn't "open". Open would mean that you included the community in the development process and worked with other vendors in the space. I can absolutely believe you're cranking out a test suite that will make Nutanix look amazing, but is it going to test your weaknesses as well as your competitor's strengths?
Look, Nutanix, you've been a pain in the ass to even try to engage with to get reviews done, though that isn't to say I don't appreciate being allowed to use a cluster in your remote POC lab for a week to test some of my own workloads. It was a start, but given the vitriol of the debate with VMware, it isn't enough.
I realize I'm small potatoes, but I've been entirely willing to work with you to come up with a viable methodology that both you and VMware would agree to. I can get the rest of the industry to agree to play and you know it. I've even offered multiple times to do the testing (or rally the troops) for free. Ther are others who can do so as well.
Now, as stated above, I'm a completely irrelevant small fry here. There are bigger names with bigger followings who command more money than I. People like, oh, Storage Review. Or you could pick Howard Marks. Or The Other Scott Lowe. Or any of a dozen trusted, highly competent and capable analysts or vExperts who have reputations for independence.
You haven't done this.
Now, you're not alone in this. VMware are a bunch of knobbly ponces refusing to play ball here too, but the rest of the field is absolutely not giving independent testers the run around. SimpliVity, Maxta, Scale...frigging NodeWeaver for $deity's sake. You are being out-legitimized by an SMB HCI vendor who is just passing their 100th customer!
I don't care if you don't think I'm independant enough, or that guy is, or that other guy over there. Pick one. More than one, preferably. Let the community know about it. We'll all jump down Chuck Hollis' throat and make the bugger send his stuff to the same party. I'll work on the other vendors personally and we'll finally get both a standardized set of tests for HCI agreed upon by all vendors and a baseline we can all work from.
It was cute for a while that getting independent reviews was "tricky". New market. We get it. But you're a behemoth now, and HCI has moved from "product" to "feature". It's not new. It's not sexy. And it's time to quantify, compare and educate.
Nutanix, you and VMware are holding back the entire hyperconvergence space with your constant back and forth shitfighting and the bipartisan refusal to simply get this crap solved in an objective manner. There are bigger issues with HCI than performance. We need to address those and that takes a focus on education, not bickering.
Remove head from sphincter. Both of you. And let's please get on with the business of making storage, compute and networking better for everyone.
There are still Netlist shills.
Will you people let it go? You lost. Do you really need to drag your sorry, wrecked egos through the mud again, chasing after Diablo jumping up and down trying to lash out? FFS, just let Netlist crawl into a corner and die with whatever pathetic shreds of dignity it has left.
You hardcore Netlist believers are about as crazy as the two people who believe SCO's bullshit and try to convince the world of it. Find a new religion. Yeesh.
I'll eat a $30K install cost if they keep the bandwidth costs down to something sane. Unfortunately, they want thousands of dollars per month 10Mbit continuous use. Fucking madness.
WHY WHY WHY can't I buy a 10Mbit upload for less than $500 a month, or $5,000 a month is I want to actually use the bandwidth?
The questions is more how to make a service like this pay.
Simple. You charge $250 a month for "access to" the 10Gbit fibre, with a "generous" "free" bandwidth allocation of 100GiB. Then you charge them $50/TB over the limit. If they complain, you have them rounded up as terrorists and thrown in jail.
Yes, I live in a country where protesting is illegal and can be classified as terrorism at the prime minister's whim.
In Canada you get your license taken away for a minimum of 6 years, get a large fine and go to jail. Increasingly there are zero tolerance rules, especially if you have a GDL instead of a full license.
So you want us to just turn off the internet and pretty much our entire manufacturing and power generating capacity, not to mention all of our tanks, jets, warships, satellites and our entire bloody society?
That'll go over well...
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