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An Amazing Week of Content and Context

by Hu Yoshida on Mar 28, 2011

Last week was a busy one with travels between Amsterdam, Sefton Park, UK, and Brussels, replete with 4:30 am wake up calls for early morning flights between countries and late night dinners. But it has been an amazing week filled with great content and context.

I started the week by catching up with Maarten Doeswijk, the creator of the Doeswijk Data Model that I blogged about several years ago.  He uses a cube to represent the three dimensions of data growth: primary data, replicas of the data, and the long term retention of that data. He has refined that model with a management dimension, which I may be able to share sometime in the future. I always walk away from our discussions with a greater understanding of data and storage than I had before.

After that I met with Ad Barghoorn, who recently joined Hitachi Data Systems as part of our expansion in the Netherlands. He joined us from Brocade. We traveled by car to the southern part of the country, which he referred to as the Dutch Alps since there are actual hills that rise above the flood plains. The ride took several hours so I had a chance to get his perspective of the business as an experienced new hire to Hitachi Data Systems. We found that we also shared a military background.

We met a potential customer who had implemented storage virtualization from another vendor four years ago and now wanted to learn about our storage virtualization and cloud capabilities. He wanted to know how we integrated with server virtualization, and where we see the storage market headed in the next five years. Like many customers this year, they are focusing on the new technologies and the investments that they will have to live with over the next three to five years.  There was a great deal of interest in our storage economics service, which helps to quantify the ROI from investments in new technologies and puts context around the technology.


The next day, after a fog delayed flight, I joined the Hitachi Data Systems Blogger Day in Sefton Park, our European HQ and Executive Briefing Center. This was organized by Carli McKinney of marketing and Pete Gerr (Ars Indicium). This was to connect with some of the key bloggers in the storage sphere, update them on our directions, and get their feedback.

blogger-day-back-of-roomClaus Mikkelsen and I participated in a podcast that was set up by Greg Knieriemen and included Chris Evans, Devang Panchigar, and Nigel Poulton.  (UPDATE 3/29: You now can listen to the podcast on The Register.) Besides Chris and Nigel, other bloggers from Europe included Ilja Coolen, Fabio Rapposelli, and Enrico Signoretti. From the U.S. were Jason Boche, and Stephen Foskett with whom I had an interesting conversation over dinner. There were a lot of interesting conversations that were enlightening on both sides.  I believe that Greg sums up the event well in the video below.

On the first day, Michael Heffernan was able to communicate our unique capabilities in support of VMware VAAI primitives with storage virtualization capabilities. Since Michael, who is also known as Heff, has been a guest contributor to my blog, Foskett refers to us as Hu and Heff.

I ended the trip in Brussels with a keynote at the Info Security and Storage Expo in Brussels. The attendance at this expo was tremendous. During the economic down turn the organizers had combined the Info Security and Storage Expo conferences, but it looks like it might be time to separate the events again as interest in storage has increased dramatically.

I also met with several customers, who gave me a better insight into the European market and requirements. One was from a hospital and I was amazed at how advanced they were in the use of IT for healthcare in Belgium.  Since the hospital information is now electronic and on line, its highest requirement for IT systems is availability. For that reason, it does not use lower cost modular storage systems. It needs the availability of enterprise systems like USP V and VSP.

In Belgium, they are working on an eHealth system, which would enable a local physician to access all the relevant medical records for a patient from his or her desktop no matter where or who generated the data. The authorization for access would be from the national electronic identity “smart” card, which is already in place for social services and insurance entitlements. There was a great deal of interest in our Hitachi Clinical Repository, which can ingest data from different modalities into our Hitachi Content Platform, index it and put meta data around that content which ties it to a specific patient, and then makes it available through a portal to a physician or clinician.

The Hitachi Clinical Repository was presented by Dave Wilson at our Blogger Day in Sefton Park. Dave is a Senior Director for Business Development in our Health Life Sciences vertical, which developed the Hitachi Clinical Repository. Dave is one of the new type of knowledge workers we are hiring into Hitachi HDS to help us transition our customers to the new information data center. He has 18 years of Healthcare experience and no storage experience, but he has the ability to clearly identify the requirements of healthcare and explain it to our engineers so that they can focus our technologies on those requirements. When asked if this was a data mining product like a GreenPlum, he explained that it was not, but an information platform for putting context around content and data so that others can more easily develop the knowledge to solve problems like patient care.

This was one of those exciting weeks that make my work enjoyable. Meeting customers, partners, bloggers, and new Hitachi Data Systems people from different geographies and getting their perspectives on what we should be doing to serve our markets better. I have a ton of notes and things to follow up on as I try to put context around what I learned and experienced.

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Comments (1)

[...] and full-packed two days. But that’s not the focus of this post, and I won’t repeat the excellent coverage Hu posted on this [...]

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