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PR Strategies: Remember, the web has no memory!

November 2001, by Zsolt Kerekes, editor STORAGEsearch

See also:- Storage History
SSD Market History
InfiniBand History
The Internet Archive
Storage Events History
SAN History - 1st Decade
Disk to Disk Backup History
"Gone away" storage companies
Dear Reader

It's only when you need to find something that you realise it's lost.

If you're a PR person who often amazes your boss by the way in which you extract valuable data for the company in-house magazine, or investor reports, taken from piles of old magazines or brochures, here's a reason for you to worry. Information on the web is transient. That wonderful article which said nice things about your company on a leading portal last week has disappeared. (So has the portal...) But there's worse still to come.
Can you remember what your home page looked like back in 1996?

Maybe you think that's not important right now. Like global warming, you know there could be some problems accumulating somewhere because of all this web stuff, but it's only when your house gets flooded, you really start to believe in it.

Back to your home page circa 1996... If you really did need to reproduce it for publicity purposes, maybe to commemorate your company's 10th anniversiversary as a dotcom (sometime in 2006) you would find the task nearly impossible for 2 reasons.
  • first, because chances are that no-one has got a copy of those original files anymore, and
  • second, even if they did have a copy, then it will still be difficult to recreate a faithful facsimile, because a whole lot of technical things have changed since then, including.... monitor sizes back then were only 640 pixels, so the screen will look different, oh yes, and can you still lay your hands on a 1996 version of Netscape? IE was only a gleam in Bill Gate's eyes back then. By the way can you remember the default fonts and sizes? Because that was what determined your page look and feel, before "designers" started using fancy fonts and graphics a few years later.
Looking to the future problems of recreating today's home page in 5 years time, the technical problems will be so enormous that you'd better forget it.

Having the source code for your home page won't be enough, because chances are that it uses other technologies, and fires up all kinds of external code to run banners, extract images and text from an online database. So the only way you're going to solve that problem is to do a screen grab of your home page, and save it as a JPEG image. JPEG, originally created for photographs, and used as the output format of all digital cameras is a sufficiently durable standard, so that no matter what the web browser actually does in 2006, you'll still be able to publish a picture which looks like your home page today.

Phew! That's a lot simpler than messing about with the other options.

But you're a busy person and probably won't even be working in your present company in 5 years' time, so why should you care?

Here's another reason. You've got a marketing program in your company to recruit another 100 resellers. As part of the lead generation efforts, your advertising manager last month ran 5 million impressions of various banner ads on a bunch of leading portals. How are you going to prove it? Apart from showing prospective VARs copies of the invoices for the ads... "We spent XXX thousand dollars on XX leading portals"... that's going to create a big yawn. But it was an expensive campaign, and you might have to wait another 3 months before you do something on a similar scale again.

In a traditional print ad campaign, or mailshot, you'd keep sample copies of the magazine or mailer to send out with your VAR information or the digital equivalent in Powerpoint. Your electronic ad campaign ended last week, and it would be nice to have visuals. On a couple of days some of those portals were even running news items about your company... and when your banner appeared on the same page, it was VERY impressive.

If you didn't make screen dumps at the time, then sure, your graphics department can mock up those web sites, but they won't be convincing. The home page on a good portal changes every day, sometimes many times a day. All the other information will look wrong. The VARs will know that it's a fix, and your credibility will be low.

So here's what you need to do. Once or twice a month do a screen grab and JPEG conversion of your company's own home page, and whenever your advertising department runs an ad, ask them to make a copy of your ad running on the targeted portal. Then, next time you want to include some of these collaterals in a future article or partner presentation your life will be a lot easier. You should also include screen grabs of the datasheets for your most significant products, because most products nowadays don't have any paper collaterals. So, if in 10 years time a publisher wants to run an article on the history of similar products, then they'll have to give yours a miss (even if it was the first, or the fastest, or the one which changed everything that followed.)

I have to confess that in my own case, it's easy to find an image of our publication way back in 1992, because it was hard copy and we can photograph any of the bits we like the look of. But there's no record whatsover of our home pages for the first 5 1/2 years as a dotcom. So we'll just have to feature shots of the mice and our changing logos in any future retrospectives.

You have been warned!

Stories on goblinsearch.com - by Zsolt Kerekes
  • Alexander Woyte and the Goblins

    In which the young Alexander is kidnapped by minions of the goblin king and we rediscover Jane Austen's long lost (and best) novel.

    ...And, in the end, when the Hunt comes to the rescue, we learn the important difference between Tolkien's orcs and Wessex goblins. Length:- 5,300 words.

  • My Pact with the Goblin Queen

    This is a horror story based in modern day Brighton. But this is not a tale about the bright city lights or the Sussex sea shore. The story takes place in the early hours of Sunday morning in the foggy lane winding up from the London Road past the Withdean stadium. Unlike the other stories on this web site, this one is autobiographical. In fact the author claimed in a radio interview that nearly every word was true. Length - 7,800 words

  • Princess Laura and the Unsuitable Dragon Suitors

    Unlike the traditional doormat formula in silly princess stories. This one doesn't include goblins - but does include a dragon.

    At the age of 18 Princess Laura is told she must choose a husband from one of the princes from the four neigbouring countries. Their manly deeds and interests all make an impression, but not what was intended. Length:- 12,200 words.

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. .
STORAGEsearch Reveals the Pivotal Shift in the Storage Market 2005

Editor:- November 22, 2005 - at this time of year analysts, editors, manufacturers and ISVs are busy digesting what's happened in the storage market and what will come.

Here, at STORAGEsearch, we do this kind of analysis throughout the whole year and there are rarely any surprises by the time we hit the holiday season. It's still too early to do my end of year review - but here's one question, which I think, it's safe to answer.

In the context of the storage market - what do you think is the single most important thing that happened in 2005? What's the single biggest change that analysts will track back to 2005 in future years and say "this was the pivotal moment?"

Well it's not the Sun / StorageTek merger.

Yes, it was the single most popular news headline when it was announced back in June 2005. But if we look back at the equally gargantuan and much noisier merger of HP and Compaq (completed in May 2002) we can see from this perspective that it didn't change the storage market one jot.

Yes, some vice presidents lost their jobs, and a lot of employees too. Some VARs got shuffled and some products got renamed, and some suppliers lost out in the new deal. But nothing of any significance changed. No new technologies got developed any faster than they would have done without the merger. And the same will be true of the Sun / StorageTek merger too. It will shift some points in market share and extend the shelf life of Sun - which may affect a few points of market share in the server market. But the overall impact on storage will be minimal compared to the 300+ other storage mergers we have noted before.

Looking again at the burning question of "what was the most important BIG thing in 2005". Am I saying it was technology then?

We're getting warmer there, but the long anticipated gestation (4 years) of Serial Attached SCSI into a technology that users could actually buy isn't the event either. Nor was the fact that InfiniBand (which had many near death experiences along the way) finally emerged looking as though it had found a healthy niche. As for iSCSI... (lagging years behind where IDC originally said it would be) ...that other graveyard for aspiring venture capital backed technology startups was finally nudging towards a billion dollar market.

What about the many demonstrations of holographic and other prototype technologies - which in the words of their developers would "wipe out" and replace hard disks, DVDs or tape?

2005 was an interesting year for long promised technologies to take up a bit more space in catalogs and newer technologies to be seen at events - but none of these new technologies was the big thing either. I'd better tell you, because we're running out of space here, and the list of things which weren't the pivotal changes in the storage market in 2005 is very long.

The answer is... that 2005 was the year that semiconductor storage overtook all other technologies (including disk) to become the biggest segment (more than 50%) of the storage market.

In 2005 solid state storage accounted for $45 billion of revenue. That was made up of RAM ($25 billion) and flash ($20 billion). It's the first time in the history of the computer market that solid state storage (with no moving parts) was worth about the same (or more) than all the other types of storage media added together (hard disk drives, tape and optical storage media).

That's a fundamental shift in the landscape which is not going to change. And as the solid state storage market grows and becomes more sophisticated - it will make big changes to the way that computers are designed and maintained.

Why is the change so important? We now have a storage usage landscape which has all the new interconnection technologies in place to sustain entirely new species of storage products. We're going to see Darwinian changes take place at catalyst speeds. I'll be talking more about that, as usual, in these pages later. Happy Holiday.
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