Bob Balaban's Blog


    Bob Balaban


    Some Interesting Tech I’ve Been Involved With Lately

    Bob Balaban  April 20 2013 04:58:50 PM
    Greetings, geeks!

    Some of you have been wondering what I've been up to lately. No, not a stealth-mode startup, not a new API for Notes/Domino, nothing like that.
    In fact, I'm at about the 6-month mark in a whole new (to me) tech area: storage and storage management. It's one of those things that's a whole lot more complicated than you'd ever think, until you start to dig into it. Me, I thought a "disk" started and ended with that box on the end of a USB cable that you plug into a laptop. No. That's just the simplest kind of disk.

    Anyway, I now work at a company called NetApp, that makes the most advanced storage systems (and no, a "storage system" is not a closet-organizer!) on the market. I tried (as always) to explain to my mom and dad what I do all day, and it was hard, they're not "computer people". But I found some awesomely cool writeups that at least start to illustrate what goes on in the world of storage, and I thought I'd share.

    First, CERN. We all know that anything having to do with CERN is automatically very cool. Here's some stuff on what NetApp does for CERN:

    High-energy proton collision experiments generate a LOT of data, very quickly (I heard it can be at rates around 6 gigabytes per second), and you have to have "storage" that can accommodate it.

    So that's how my company mainly makes money, "storage systems". But that's not the area I work in myself. I'm working on a product called "OnCommand/Insight" (OCI), which is more on the data center management side of things. It inventories all of the important devices in your data center (storage, of course, but also switches, "hosts" (VMs and so on) etc.), and reports not only on the inventory (what devices you have, what's connected to what, like that), but on the performance and utilization of those devices: do you have storage that isn't being used by anyone? Do you have redundant connectivity from hosts to disks? Do you have RAID arrays that need servicing? And so forth.

    Here's a page that describes more comprehensively than I can here what it's all about:

    So, it's great fun. NetApp is a good company to work for, the technology is interesting and pretty deep, and it really makes a big difference to a lot of people, even if it's mostly "back-room". When you hear about "big data", or "analytics" or "cloud", start thinking NetApp!

    Geek ya later!

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    This article ┬ęCopyright 2013 by Looseleaf Software LLC, all rights reserved. You may link to this page, but may not copy without prior approval.


    1amygeek  04/20/2013 9:50:55 PM  Some Interesting Tech I’ve Been Involved With Lately

    I've been wondering what you've been up too. Actually, it sounds interesting to me. But I'm a geek...

    2Bill Dorge  04/21/2013 8:19:28 AM  Some Interesting Tech I’ve Been Involved With Lately

    Great to hear! NetApp is a great company. IBM's DS and N series line are NetApp boxes, always enjoyed working with those devices. NetApp has always had great software to go along with their storage devices, I'm sure you are enjoying the learning and the challenges of something new.

    3Bob Balaban  04/29/2013 7:35:29 PM  Some Interesting Tech I’ve Been Involved With Lately

    @Amy - It's ok, this is a safe space for geeks :-)