Monthly Archives: November 2013

Size of a Petabyte

A fun back of the napkin game I remember calculating for the past decade around the time affordable (under 10k) IDE-SCSI terabyte sized raids came out was, “How big is a petabyte?”. Around the time these became interesting (2003-4) it looked like ~16 racks of hard drives and 1u controlling servers in 4-6t raid volumes.

The next big upgrade was around a little before the Sun Thumpers arrived and reduced that size down to ~43 servers (500gb drives) and reduced that size down to a little over 4 racks total.

Today, it looks like you can easily get 80 3.5″ drives in a 4u chassis, so that reduces the total size from 12 racks a decade+ ago down to about 16u today. Assuming I run our 10Gbps pipe at full throttle, that’s around 10 days to fully fill.  (not counting network, storage, metadata overhead).

Guess its time to start counting racks per exabyte. (304 at today’s density).

Sharepoint 2013, the not quite getting it release

‘…Your Enterprise Social Network…’ well almost.

Compared to 2011, 2013 is clearly a large step forward. Document editing works and in my opinion is superior to the google docs alternative, the layout is much, much easier to navigate and at long last MS seems to have backtracked on their Document Libraries are not like shared folders stance. The Document library to Explorer integration and connection to office overall is much improved (read, it works).

With all the good things, there appear to be a few glaring omissions. Given the glaring holes, it appears that the Sharepoint dev group either does not eat their own dog food, or has a very convoluted day to day work process.

1. Following and forgetting.

You can follow sites and documents, but not folders. We’ve come across a number of times when sharing part of a document library (ie, working on a single presentation, collecting a limited set of documents, sharing small groups of ppts/word documents) is necessary. This works nice, click share type in your colleague’s name, then for the love of god, make sure your colleague doesn’t misplace that e-mail. There’s no way to follow that folder. I can follow every single document which is good until someone uploads another document. If its not a top level folder, browsing to that document library doesn’t show it :(.

2. Folders and a filesytem, but not really

Sharepoint 2010, don’t use folders and document libraries as file shares, in Sharepoint 2013 you mount a document library locally but folders are bad, use tags instead. NO! If you attach it to Explorer, it should behave like a filesystem, people will use it like a filesystem. Don’t give me a convenient way to access stuff, then say no.

Pretty much all the caveats about file size, characters, path length listed in the Migrating File Shares to Skydrive Pro blog post mean that Skydrive Pro is pretty useless for all but the most simple cases.

3. Finding s^$%

You know what’s nice, when someone shares something with you, or gives you access to something, not having to make a conscious effort to bookmark or follow it. Again, take a cue from Dropbox, google docs, if someone shares something, grants me or my group access it, call me crazy, but I probably want to easily access it.  If I don’t, then leave the onus of removing it on me.

A possible solution, allow sharing to automatically add stuff to My Sites, or a shared document library. Don’t make me use search to find stuff that should be one click away.

4. Sharing, but not to everyone

Apparently MS only e-mails documents to folks outside of Redmond or only shares documents with people within their corporate borders. Box, Dropbox, Google docs, Pydio, and well pretty much everyone else lets me e-mail an obfuscated link to a document that will (shocker!) open that document or folder. Is it perfectly secure? No, however it definitely falls under the lets me get work done category.

And before you start, forcing my colleagues to get an outlook account and federating to is not an acceptable solution (here’s looking at you Skype/Lync).

5. Its not a Windows world anymore.

Skydrive Pro and Sharepoint document syncing is wonderful… I love it, its corporate Dropbox for my office documents finally… And its a complete pain to support anyone that’s not running a PC attached to my domain. Telling your OS-X users to use the web to download/open documents isn’t a solution. Having to use the web browser on Android to retrieve documents, not a solution. If you’re not on Windows, you’re a second class citizen isn’t a solution. People have seen the future of document syncing and it looks and behaves like Box and Dropbox, please copy it.

On a related note: Box/Dropbox, give me an on-premise solution for sharing and you’ll probably end up giving Sharepoint a run for its money.

All in all, SP 2013 is a huge leap forward, document editing in office web apps is light years ahead of google docs, navigation, the overall layout, site templates, etc are incredibly powerful. Its a shame that MS is still determined to do things their way, as opposed to what is in the best interest of their customers.