Data Center Marketing Hype vs. Social Networks

One person recently asked me what is going on in the data center industry.  I said the big are getting bigger, the small are disappearing and the middle is trying to make it seem like things are great.  Those who make the most amount of noise aren't necessarily doing the best.  When a company is quiet with few press releases and presence at trade shows doesn't mean they are not growing. I found it interesting when you would give a small presentation at a conference like Uptime Symposium and half the room is full of your competitors. If you have something really good that sells, you don't want to tell your competitors how you market your product and how it addresses customer needs.

What got me to write this post is reading Chris Crosby's post on Pardon My Hyperbole.

Pardon My Hyperbole

Pardon My HyperboleEveryone exaggerates. The big one that got away gets bigger with every telling. That one yard plunge you made for a touchdown in high school now stands at 50 yards, and getting longer, and of course you really did use to have a 30 inch waist. Hyperbole is not a bad thing. The advertising business is built upon it and so are most of our egos. Al Gore has made a career of it ($200 million at last count). In our everyday lives, we accept a certain amount of puffery surrounding most any assertion that we hear—let’s call it our personal plus or minus 10%—but sometimes we just have to jump in tell someone that “it’s time to pull in the reigns there cowboy”. I ran across just such a case the other day when I read someone describe data centers as “today’s steel mills”. While I agree that everyone has a right to use hyperbole to make a point, I think this guy’s abusing the privilege.




When I first read this I thought of the marketing over promises of what a product or service will deliver.  Most vendors know their customers will under utilize the product/service so its performance will be fine.  But the bigger players are working at a scale that challenges the limits of products and services.  What do you mean the product has issues at 80% load.  Well no one runs the product at 80% load most are aren't even at 50% load.  You mean your specifications aren't accurate.  Well no one has actually run our product in production at 80% load.  One of my friends was a the nightmare tenant in his colocation facility.  He would consistently push circuits to their 80% of rated capacity.  His landlord would constantly talk to him about the dangers of running the facility at 80%.  My friend knew he was paying for the capability so why not use it.

Here is a crazy idea for the vendors spend some of that marketing budget on listening to the experienced influentials.  Learn what issues they have with existing products/services and what they need in future products/services.  Oops, just shared what some of the smart people have figured out.  Hanging with the influentials to listen is worth more than trying to sell them something.  

One of the funniest stories is when a salesman cornered a data center executive and lectured him how he is making big mistakes not working with his company, one of the top companies in the industries.  You aren't buy into my over promise and under deliver market dominance strategy. :-)

Life changes when you hang around the really smart people to listen, learn, and socialize.  You start to see the reality of what works and what doesn't.

The big are getting smarter as well as bigger.  The small have no idea what is going on.  The middle is well, stuck in the middle.