Ben was the president and CEO at Gluster, which was acquired by Red Hat in October 2011. Gluster offers a scale out, open source, software only approach to storage. For five years prior to joining Gluster, Ben served as the President and CEO of Plaxo, a social networking infrastructure pioneer backed by industry luminaries Michael Moritz (Sequoia), Ram Shriram, Globespan Capital and Cisco. Ben led Plaxo through a complete turnaround, bringing the company to profitability, over 20 million users, and a large and successful acquisition by Comcast Interactive Media. Prior to Plaxo, he held a number of executive roles at VeriSign including Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President/General Manager of the Enterprise Security, SSL and Payments divisions. Before VeriSign, Ben held a number of product development, operations and business development roles at companies such as Avid Technology and Sun Microsystems. Ben holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy from Princeton University and serves on a number of for-profit and non-profit boards including TrustE, BlueSwarm, and Partners for Youth with Disabilities. This is a weblog of Ben Golub. The opinions expressed are those of Ben's and may not represent those of Computerworld.
In a previous post, I invoked Thomas Jefferson in predicting the future of storage.
As I prepare to conclude and summarize this series of Computerworld posts, I'd like to invoke another, eminently-quotable American statesman, Dan Quayle. Our 44th vice president famously described the future by stating:
"The future will be better tomorrow."
Anyone who has seen the 1976 film Marathon Man, will no doubt recall the cringe-inducing scene where a sadistic Nazi dentist (played by Laurence Olivier) tortures the protagonist (Dustin Hoffman) by drilling into his teeth without anesthetic. Throughout the ordeal, Olivier constantly asks, "Is it safe?" Not knowing what "it" refers to, Hoffman can't come up with an answer to avert the torture.
There's an old saying that the difference between neurosis and psychosis is that neurotics build castles in the clouds and psychotics move in. What then does that say about those of us who try to build storage farms in the cloud? Are we afflicted with some special form of insanity?
As a kid, when I was being carpooled to soccer practice, I got into a heated discussion with my friends regarding the kind of car we would be driving as adults when we took our kids to soccer practice. Impassioned arguments were made on behalf of flying cars, car-boat hybrids, and personal jetpacks; I suspect we would have been disappointed to learn that the vast majority of us would be driving our kids to soccer in plain old SUVs -- not too far a cry from the woody station wagon we were riding in at the time of the discussion.
In 1814, Thomas Jefferson donated the contents of his vast personal library of books and correspondence to form the foundation of the Library of Congress. Some 200 years later, that library is one of the largest in the world. Yet, the text of all of its contents could fit on a stack of DVDs that would reach to the top of a two-story building.
If you're into 1960's songs about middle class conformity, you may not have a positive association with lots of interchangeable "little boxes." In storage, however, those little boxes are not only beautiful but the wave of the future. Insider (free registration required)
Imagine that it's the height of the Cold War, and you are trying to design an approach to command, control, and communications that can survive a full-scale nuclear attack.
One approach is to build a small number of communications nodes that are highly resilient. For example, you can build communications bunkers a mile deep under mountains, or keep a pair of specially-outfitted jets continuously in the air above Nebraska. Let's call this the Big Box approach.
My wife and I are both dog people, but we have mixed views regarding another contentious issue: hardware versus software.
The term "big data," is getting thrown around a lot these days, and in certain circles it is threatening to overtake "cloud" as the most overused and misused term in IT.
Interestingly, some of the large, traditional storage vendors are embracing the term big data, using it as an umbrella term for all large collections of data and hence an umbrella term for all of their offerings. A more nuanced understanding of big data actually shows it to be antithesis of both the technology and the business models of the traditional storage vendors.