Why I’ve Hardly Blogged Over The Past Year, And It’s All Datrium’s Fault!

Keeping It SimpleLately, I’ve had a few people ask me “How come you aren’t blogging much anymore?”  My typical response to that question is usually “I’ve not really had much to post about!” Which, when I think about it, really doesn’t make sense. I joined Datrium a year ago, and since joining, it’s been a near-vertical learning curve, working on some ground-breaking technologies. So why don’t I feel like I have anything to blog about?

Well, over the past 10 years, my main reason for blogging was to share knowledge with others around, usually, complex technical issues and configurations. Some examples from the past few years:

So, this leads me to why I’ve not really posted much since joining at Datrium.

Why blame Datrium?

Datrium’s products are soo simple to use. Demonstrating our products to prospective customers is very anti-climatic because all of the nerd-knobs have been removed. Our philosophy is simplicity. You don’t need to go on a training course in order to operate our products. It should be intuitive. This in itself is probably something I should be writing about. However, who’s actually interested in a hearing about a product that just works and runs quite happily on its own without constant operational support? If you are, I have a funny story regarding that.

Our support team needed to contact a customer who had been running on Datrium DVX for a few years, but they were struggling to get in touch with the primary contact. It turns out, he had left 18 months ago and no one else knew anything about the DVX as “it’s just been running all by itself since he left, no one has touched it.” Almost unheard of, right?

We Are Becoming Less Tolerant Of Complexity

During my time in this industry, I’ve spent hours, maybe even days, speaking at conferences. Usually, talking about how to correctly configure IT solutions to meet your customer’s needs. Making sure certain applications get enough performance and other applications are highly available and the trade-offs these configurations pose. I really enjoyed giving those sessions. The more nerd-knobs a product had, the smarter I could look! However, looking back, I now find myself thinking, “Why does it need to be soo complicated?” It might be an age thing, but personally, I now feel I am way too busy now to try and figure all of that out. Can’t IT be simple? I want ALL of my applications to ALL get amazing performance, be highly available, and I don’t want to have to chose which applications get that and which don’t make the cut.

This goes back to simplicity. Datrium offers exactly that. No need for complex configurations. ALL applications get amazing performance and data protection. Go find something else to do with the rest of your day, your job here is done.

As amazing as that is, it doesn’t really give me much to write about, that hasn’t already been written about before by the smart people who engineered our products.

Being Simple Does Not Equal Basic

Simplicity is rarely identified as sexy and very often when a product is too simple, it can often be perceived as not “Production Ready” and is overlooked. However, if a product is complex to operate, we subliminally feel that it’s a high-end product, even if it actually isn’t able to offer much more than an operational headache.

I’ve recently been working on Datrium’s Hands-On-Lab environment, which allows people interested in Datrium’s products to learn about the products functions/features without needing to install our software.  During the Beta testing, one person’s feedback was:

“The labs ran smoothly, there is not really much to it, it’s pretty basic.”

But when you ask them about some of the tasks they experienced as part of the labs;

  • Multiple site replication
  • Backup and restore of both virtual machines and guest files
  • Single click zero-impact upgrades of all components

All of the above (and much more) achieved with software from a single vendor in a single user interface. And then ask them to take a step and think. How many different products it would take them to be to accomplish the same “basic” functionality? Only then does it hit home. The product is soo simple, you are unable to see how powerful it actually is.

As Leonardo Da Vinci once put it:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication