Is it live or is it Memorex?

Inmemorex the early 70’s, Memorex ran a series of commercials with the theme of “Is it live or is it Memorex?”. In one, the great Ella Fitzgerald sang a note which shattered a wine glass. Memorex then played a tape of her voice which also shattered a wine glass. The point of the commercials was to show that something recorded on a Memorex tape was as good as hearing it live.

But is it really as good?

I was thinking about this while preparing for the AFCOM Data Center World conference in Las Vegas next month. As always, we’ll be showing our RaMP DCIM solution. As always, we’ll be showing the software live. And, as always, we’ll probably be the only DCIM vendor showing a live version of their product. That’s right, our software will be monitoring real assets, collecting real power data, performing live auto-discovery of assets, and triggering real alarms. If you ask us to run a report showing all rack PDUs operating at over 50% load, we’ll run that report for you. If you want find all HP servers running Windows 8 with less than 16 GB of memory, we’ll find them for you. We won’t show you what we want you to see, but what you want to see. And we’ll do it live.

Why are we the only ones doing this?

Why isn’t everyone showing real data? Why isn’t everyone showing customers what the software really does under live conditions? It’s not a technology issue. If you have a web-based DCIM solution (pretty much the norm these days), all you really need is an internet connection to be able to show a live version of the software. We typically demonstrate our software using the free wifi at the show – no, it’s not the fastest connection, but it’s plenty fast for us.

So if it isn’t a technology issue, what is it?

If your product is good and you trust it, why wouldn’t you show it off?

I’ll leave you to come up with possible reasons for yourself, but I will say this: The reason is likely to be the same reason that most DCIM vendors still sell their software using PowerPoint slides. Maybe their slides can break a wine glass, but can their solution do it in real life? The reason might be the same reason most DCIM vendors are very reluctant to do a proof of concept. If you believe in your product, why wouldn’t you let your customer try it out?

If you’re attending the Data Center World conference, I encourage you to visit the various DCIM vendors – there are plenty of us out there – and see their products. Ask them if they are showing live data. If not, ask them why. Propose scenarios and see if their product can provide the information you request. It they say it can do it, they should be able to show you. If their product can turn off an outlet on a rack PDU, ask them to do it. If the product can schedule a report to be run, ask them to schedule a report for you and send you the report.

Is it live or is it Memorex? We’ll be live – will anyone else?