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Grout Expectations, and a Disk Story

It’s been two weeks since returning from Thailand on my Habitat for Humanity build. After the 17-hour flight home from Thailand to the US, I had a 48-hour turnaround before heading off to Mexico City for the week to participate in another one of our remarkably successful executive briefing centers with Hu Yoshida (see his post on this trip).

No rest, wicked or otherwise.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, my “vacation” included building a home outside of Udon Thani, Thailand, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity. These guys are awesome, and do some very good work. We started with nothing, poured a foundation, built walls of cinder block, poured a concrete floor, set in doors and windows, and dug a septic tank. In only a week and a half, we (there were 16 of us) turned dirt into a home for a great family with two boys (aged four, and the other less than a year old.)

Elegant housing? Hardly, but clearly a step up from where they were living previously. And, since my previous blog was titled “Pounding Nails,” I decided to call this one (with all due respect to Charles Dickens) “Grout Expectations,” since there were no nails involved (just a bunch of cinder blocks and concrete.)

Here are some pictures from my time in Thailand.

In the beginning...

(In the beginning...)

...and the finished product!

(...and the finished product!)

Enjoying a beer after a day’s work

(Enjoying a beer after a day’s work.)

Getting ready to play with the kids

(Getting ready to play with the kids.)

At the SkyBar in Bangkok before heading home. I'm the one with the beard

(At the SkyBar in Bangkok before heading home. I'm the one with the beard.)

Habitat has one of the most bizarre business models I can think of, where they (through their Global Village program) offer folks the opportunity to pay them money for the privilege of working FOR them. I hope HDS does not adopt this model.

All joking aside, it really is a great opportunity to give some sweat equity for a good cause, and at the same time see parts of the world, otherwise not generally on the tourist (or business) track. I thought I could sell a couple of VSP’s whilst there, but to no avail.

I’m not endorsing Habitat exclusively, (although their “builds” are a lot of fun), but I do endorse the concept of getting out of the mainstream box and seeing the real world. Over the weekend in Thailand, I suggested to the group that we traipse over to Laos (since the border was only about 40 miles away), so we did. We started with a nice lunch on the Mekong River, then spent the rest of the day touring the capital city of Vientiane. On Sunday we visited an HIV/AIDS orphanage, which was both sad and uplifting at the same time. Playing with the kids was fun, and they certainly seemed to enjoy the attention.

Next year, body willing, the plan is to move the operation to Ghana in West Africa.

I did want to talk about the disk drive market before I close this. I came across this link on Twitter before I left on my vacation. It’s a year-old article, but still has some interesting perspectives on the HDD industry, and quotes a Seagate representative that was predicting 100TB-300TB drives by the year 2020 (only nine years away!) I also remember an article from Gartner or IDC in the year 2000 that quoted that the average array size being shipped in the industry was 1.2TB. So now that we’re about midway between 2000 and 2020, it’s interesting to look back a decade and also into the future, and imagine what the larger storage industry will be like.

I bring this up as a teaser to my next blog, which will actually be a guest post from storage performance practitioner Ian Vogelesang, who knows much more about the HDD industry than I ever will. I’ve read it, and it’s a pretty interesting take from a very smart guy. You’ll enjoy it.

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Claus Mikkelsen

Data Center Advisors

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