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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Monday October 07, 2002
03:48 PM

Super-seekrit Apple meeting

[ #8227 ]
So, the Monday of Mac OS X Con saw me leaving the conference hotel. Apple had organized a "Unix guru briefing", so Brian Behlendorf, Eric Allman, Paul Vixie, Kirk McKusick, myself, and others turned up at the Executive Briefing Center bright and early. Or, in my case, late, as I foolishly took a freeway instead of surface roads. Lesson learned.

This is the first Unix guru briefing they did, but I believe they're planning more. They brought out a variety of technical and marketing people. We, the Unix gurus, got the most benefit from the technical people. One of the goals of the organizers was also to expose the marketing folks to us, so they know what matters to us (e.g., dual power supplies on the Xserve and multi-button mice).

Of the technical talks, the two that really stood out were the hardware profiling demo of CHUD, and the Rendezvous talk by Stuart Cheshire (which was repeated at OS X Con--watch for mp3s and Quicktime of that talk). Rendezvous is amazing. So elegant (built on existing DNS--no proprietary extensions at all!) and so powerful.

The most success, though, was in simply establishing contact. I now have a lot more inside access than I did before, and if I have a question or problem then I'm closer to the people who can solve it.

Not that networking was the only benefit. We all came away with a greater understanding of Apple and more faith in where they're going. And boy, were we a tough audience! You should have heard Brian and Paul pushing hard for dual power supplies in the Xserve. Definitely the wrong crowd for the marketing guy to try his "well, most people who say they want dual power supplies don't actually have the infrastructure to support them correctly" line on! And the two-button mouse discussion was painful to watch ...

Anyway, that's where my Monday went. Instead of watching Brian and Dan, I was insinuating myself into the belly of the beast. Well, we may not have made it all the way to the belly, but the esophagus of the beast was still pretty cool.


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  • The marketing guy, sadly, does have a point about customers not having the infrastructure to use dual power supplies as they are intended. I've been in a lot of data centers and countless numbers of them had both power supplies plugged into the same PDU and often the same power strip. This is not to say that anything in a server class box shouldn't have them but they are 90% of the time used improperly. There's always a lot of handwaving about redundancy but it's a really rare system that actually has it. M

    • Yup. And the Apple guy talked about Dell dual power supply servers with a Y power cable. Ho ho. The point of the audience was "well, let's assume we're not fucking morons and we actually want to set up our server for redundancy. Power supplies are consumables on PCs, yet you don't offer me a dual power supply server." The assumption that the customer is an idiot doesn't win you customers, regardless of how accurate it is :-)