A mild fixation …

February 27, 2015

Here goes with another controversial blog for Product Marketing to ponder …

Customers have a fixation on port numbers. I find it a bit unusual because we tend not to have the same sort of fixation on anything else we do in life. However when it comes to port count on RAID controllers or HBA’s we definitely have a fixation.

Example: I have 2 x SSD – hmm, you don’t have a 2-port controller so I”ll look at 4-port instead. I’ll never even think about looking at 16 port controllers because I’m fixated on the number of drives I currently have. That’s a shame because in fact it’s the 16-port controller that you need, whether you currently recognise it or not.

I’ll come back to that but let’s look at the rest of our life compared to RAID controllers. The speed limit in my country (on the open motorway) is 110km/h. So therefore why do I need a motorbike that does more than 110km/h? Why on earth would I own a Ducati Monster that’s capable of around 265km/h (don’t tell the wife that).
I recently upgraded the suspension on my 4WD – I could have standard height, 30mm lift or 60mm lift? Hmmm, I mostly drive on the road so I could stick with the standard height, but guess what – the wife now needs a step ladder to get into the car because it’s had the 60mm lift :-)

So I have no fixation on the limits imposed by the law, or the limits imposed by common-sense when it comes to my vehicles, but I certainly have one (as do most customers) when it comes to choosing RAID cards.

You guessed it – I’m banging on about the 71605E again – a 16 port “entry” card that is absolutely perfect for RAID 10 on SSD – fast, capable and cheap(ish). But do customers ever look at it? No, because it’s 16 ports and they are fixated on 4 and 8 port controllers. So I own the vehicles that suit my needs, not vehicles that are dictated to me by random numbers imposed by the law or my wife’s height. Funny enough that’s the way we should look at controllers – what suits my “performance” requirements, not what suits my “numbers” requirements.

If our marketing department was based in Australia we’d run an ad campaign entitled: “who gives a *^%&$ how many ports the thing has?”. Can’t really see that ever happening in this company, but at the end of the day that’s what needs to be embedded in customer mindsets – stop thinking about the number of drives you have, and start thinking about what controller has the processing performance to handle your requirements. This is mostly addressed at SSD users because while they have made up their mind to use a faster device, they still haven’t changed their mindset about which controller card they should use – and they need to big time.

Using my bike as analogy again … I can buy cheap tyres, or I can buy ridiculously expensive Pirelli’s that are far more capable than my riding ability – and guess what I buy (certainly not the cheap and nasty) – I want to give my bike the ability to perform to it’s full potential – even if the rider isn’t as capable as he once was :-)

So stop thinking port count … and start thinking performance (7 and 8 series).



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