You are actually building a model that goes past the
black swan. The thing about 9/11 that made it even
more chaotic than the tragedy of the World Trade Center
towers coming down was that 12 Broad Street (the lower
Manhattan telecom switching station) filled with water.
This resulted in no telco for the southern tip of Manhattan, creating a black swan.
Theoretically, the thing that could never happen,
which is that every divergent telco path in southern
Manhattan becomes blocked, happened. Many of the
problems that are solved in the typical case are not sufficient in the DR case because the normal constraints do
BISHOP The number-one conclusion at this conference
I attended was that during Hurricane Katrina every company’s disaster-recovery plan assumed that people could
get to work. Every disaster-recovery plan in New Orleans
failed because people could not get to work.
CROSBY 9/11 was about mortality. Nobody reasons about
how to recover from mortal events. At the end of the day,
the rational guy in the SMB doesn’t deal with that level of
risk. If an event like that happens, his business is lost.
GUSTAV There actually are levels of defined risk. You’ve
got systemic risk. If the counterparty doesn’t show up,
the entire market cannot function. That’s one level of
badness. But think about the SMB. There’s a stat I’ve seen
recently that says that 70 percent of businesses that are
forced to close for more than a month never reopen. Systemic risk, well priced, is more valuable to the SMB than
it is to a large enterprise like my employer.
The counterargument made earlier states that if this
business fails, it is cheaper to start a new business than to
pay 2N for 10 years. The problem is that we have never
been able to present a reasonably priced alternative.
Effectively, the SMB owner is self-insured and betting
on his or her own ability. I would say that DR for the SMB
is actually a richer market than DR for the enterprise. Part
of the problem is defining the minimum requirement. It
doesn’t need to be up in the next five minutes; the SMB
owner just needs to know that he can get it working in
two or three days under any circumstances.
BISHOP One of the things I learned at Bell Labs was that
in terms of fault coverage, you got far better results by
recovering from failure than you ever got by avoiding it.
CROSBY That is right. A recent Stanford research model
tells us to assume that computer systems are inherently
fragile, humans build bad software, and applications are
going to decay and fail. Therefore, we should architect
our applications so they inherently contain the concept
of failure and restart.
CREEGER I’d like you all to summarize what the takeaways are and what advice you’re going to give to the
poor person who’s trying to make sense of the world
today and move forward.
HERROD At the highest level, we should all avoid breathing our own exhaust too much. At the end of the day,
virtualization is a tool. The goals are to make life better,
and particularly for SMBs, to make computing simpler.
To make it easy for SMBs is to enable them to operate
securely and with high availability, and to solve their
business problems with their applications.
It is actually about manageability and how to do more
and make things run better with less staff. When you’re
evaluating your workload and products to address it, you
should be looking at the overall story, not just at a snapshot. It’s really what you are going to be working with
day to day. I believe that is what we’re all trying to focus
on. That is certainly what VMware is trying to focus on.
STEWART Think locally but really have your eye on what
you’re going to do with virtualization moving forward.
Someone in the SMB space is typically looking at virtualization to get flexibility, but think about the actual applications, the use cases, and the user profiles to determine
why you want to use virtualization in your environment.
Manageability of the environment is really going to
be a critical aspect, not just the fact that you’re creating a
virtual machine. Integrating the stack into your environment is going to be very important from a small-business
perspective. You need to determine whether you will need
to retrain your staff to integrate virtualization into your
environment, and then weigh that against the benefits.