HDS: Chads Army and some other stuff

By | June 30, 2010

I’m using this post to offer my two penny’s worth to a subject raised by Elias Khnaser in a recent post over at InformationWeek titled “Open Letter to Jack Domme, CEO, Hitachi Data Systems”.

In his article Eli talks about the need for HDS to do a better job of selling itself. 

In his article, Eli makes several references to “Chad’s Army”.  For those of you who don’t know, Chad Sakac is a big chief VMware geezer at EMC, and his so called Virtual Dream Team is comprised of some of the very top VMware and virtualisation talent on the planet.  Not only are these guys (and I know several of them) top technical talent, they are also hugely influential.  These guys are vExperts and write via books, websites, blogs, as well as being Twitter warriors.  While I know Twitter and the likes are not everybody’s cup of tea, however, they are powerful mediums…. if you just as much as mention you have a question or issue with VMware and the wider VCE piece, you can guarantee that at least one of these guys will be all over you with all the help and info you could ever want.  Cisco have been similar in their evangelising of FCoE.

In respect to Chad’s Army, I agree with Eli’s observation that HDS could benefit hugely from something similar.  It’s a brave new world and the likes of EMC Cisco and VMware are leading the way.

Anyway, in light of Eli’s article I thought I’d throw in one or two other things that I think would benefit HDS  –

  1. Unleash and encourage your in-house technical talent.  Have them, and reward them for, participating in the following –
    • Online user forums
    • Twitter
    • Podcasts
    • Blogs
  2. Take a leaf out of Cisco book (literally).  Cisco have written great books (the traditional paper kind that get posted out to you from the likes of Amazon) on UCS, FCoE and Converged Networking.  Search Amazon and you’ll find them. 
    • Want to know about FCoE?  Chances are you will end up reading something written by somebody on the Cisco payroll. 
    • Want to learn about the architecture behind UCS?  There’s a book for that too. 
    • On the other hand, want to find good info on HDS technology? ……… ???…..??? In fact it was so hard to find good HDS technical information, that a while back I felt the need to write a technical USP V User guide myself!
  3. Invest in creating and nurturing a real online community.  One that opens up the top talent at HDS and makes them more accessible to customers.  A good starting point would be improved support forums (check out VMware or even HP support forums).  forums.hds.com looked like it could have been something good 4 or 5 years ago when Jeremiah Owyang first started it up.  But I dare say it hasn’t changed at all since then.  If anything, it’s been left to gather dust and frustrate customers rather than help them. 
  4. Institute MVP style awards.  Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert type awards seem to be seen as valuable today.  I dare say they also help create communities, giving people something to aim for and a feeling of belonging – that their participation in and contributions to the community are valued….
  5. Host a HDS World event.  Along the lines of the likes of EMC World and VM World.  These are awesome events and don’t need me to extol their merits

UPDATE: How about bringing back Mr. T for some more YouTube commercials?  Cast your vote below –

Check out this previous HDS and Mr. T combo!


I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that came to mind when reading Eli’s article.

The claim to be the industry’s best kept secret is wearing a a little thin these days.  Time to step up to the mark and take off the gloves – or alternatively do nothing and remain in obscurity.

On a side note, I find it interesting that HDS are pushing the “open” aspects of their UCP (unified computing platform/vertical stack offering).  While I think this could be an important differentiator, it’s kind of hard to see this being a reality coming from a company that has a history and a reputation of being ultra closed.

Opportunity is knocking, will HDS answer?

Just my opinions of course πŸ˜€


PS.  I’m thinking it’s probably about time “Chad’s Army” got it’s own Wikipedia article πŸ˜‰

10 thoughts on “HDS: Chads Army and some other stuff

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention HDS: Chads Army and some other stuff – Technical Deep Dive -- Topsy.com

  2. Roberto

    I think you are spot on when you say that "best secrets stories" are wearing thin; I don't think that unleashing an army is the answer though.  Not the first time this is attempted and it is usually a desperation move .  How many Tiger's teams or similar we saw in the past?  What did the produce? At what cost? Education is the answer, the deeper in the organizations and outside them  the better (yes, exploit blogs, tweets, white papers etc).  EMC has tried armies and platoons before…..when the product didn't sell as they wanted; this sound similar.  BTW, can someone explain all this fuss about FCoE?  What do they solve with it?  I still have to find one that is looking to use it…and I spoke to a lot of end-users.

  3. Nigel

    Hi Roberto,

    Thanks for pitching in.

    I think education/knowledge sharing is the raison d’etre for Chads Army. They seem to have taken the very best educators (best bloggers, best tweeters, best authors, best interactors as well as best techies) and hired them to educate the public as well as no doubt internally at EMC.

    Im not necessarily saying that HDS need their own Army, what I am saying is that Mr. T is needed


    As for FCoE, I see the benefits from a cable, I/O adapter and edge switch port reduction perspective. Other than reducing infrastructure requirements I dont see FCoE doing much else. Im not knocking the need for infrastructure consolidation though!

    Oh and potentially killing FC and paving the way for an iSCSI future….

  4. Sim Alam

    Right on the money Nigel.

    Roberto, an HDS Litter of Kittens would be an improvement, let alone a Tiger Team. As Nigel says education and more importantly communication is what Chad's Army is all about and that is what HDS is missing.

    Sure UCP is interesting but can HDS actually execute on all the pieces that it comprises? Open Systems require Open Communication and as Chuck Hollis points out that is a hard, soul searching process, is HDS up to it?

  5. Jay Tanner

    I think you’re spot on Nigel and it makes me wonder what future there is with HDS when I see inferior products getting better marketing. It’s been very frustrating and I’m still waiting for the changes. This was also something addressed by the SANMAN blogger Archie Hendryx when he forecasted the Oracle / SUN takeover. That was way back in January and I still haven’t seen anything to raise my hopes.

  6. V

    they have a long way to go.
    How far (does it matter?)..

    What does matter is whether or not strides are being taken to alleviate the pain and address a collection of processes which currently are somewhat cumbersome to a laughable degree.

    Take simple tasks for example.
    “I need a manual” – can i find it online ?

    HDS = US / UK – no.
    HDS Japan – strangely yes…

    first question(s) why not – and why japan only ?

    next… I want to simply log a call… the box is in the UK I’m in the US…
    can I do it in the US – no… ? why not ?

    next… the forum – is it active ? doesn’t seem to be… – are there people out there using the kit ? – you bet there are….

    This is just a simple couple of examples… simple stuff – and no they don’t seem to have grasped these things need to work.. simply – not “not work at all”.. or “at a push”.

    There’s plenty of other topics and tasks which could be hammered into shape in a few months… it’d make the org look both leaner and keener…
    Don’t get me wrong… I’m not grumpy but the room for improvement is…. currently VAST.

    One last thing ..” why wander off into blogs / webcasts / twitter etc if you can’t and seemingly don’t address simple stuff like manuals / information and dissemination of useful tips ?”

  7. Alicia

    Well now, we could of course psluibh the benchmark of concurrency.By that I mean, with SVC we HAVE to test each array until it returns Q full. Because Q full is one of the worst possible SCSI return codes you could ever get How long do you wait, how long do you let it drain So we set what we call a concurrency, or queue for each controller type, and its I guess a league table of what we find in real life testing.Now this isn’t performance testing, I rarely get my hands on competitive kit, because in the most part I’m testing our kit.However, there are three (well four) classes of controller (the numbers are for sake of example)enterprise : gets the highest concurrency (1000)midrange : gets the middle ground (500)ahem : gets some I/O through. (200)wau! : don’t sniff or you’ll miss it (50)You’d be amazed at how many products are sold in these categories, but usually fit in one lower.Especially those companies that sell you an SLA, not a box. Infact, those boxes that report themselves with DG in their scsi inquiry vendor id, caused us to create the final category I’m not sure of the impact, but I will see if I can get IBM’s settings for all the things we support de-classified, and post on my blog lol wouldn’t that be fun

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