John C. Tyrrell


Company Represented While Actively Involved with the SNIA:

IBM, Sr. Storage Management Architect
Seagate, Principal Storage Management Architect
EMC, Sr. Storage Management Technologist

Current Company:

NetApp, Sr. Storage Management Solutions Architect

Years with the SNIA:

Since SNIA began (fall, 1997) – started the first working group (DRM) in SNIA

Committees, Forums, Initiatives, Board Seats Held at the SNIA:

Chair, DRM for 7 years, Co-chair of Performance Work Group, 2 years

Fondest Memories of the SNIA:

I presented the proposal for the first Work Group of SNIA when SNIA began. We began weekly calls and I expected single digit numbers of participants. The very first call had 35 companies and 55 people on the call. It became readily clear to me on both the depth of the problem and desire to develop a common solution. On every subsequent weekly call, the number of participants increased – three months later at a face to face meeting we decided to split this Work Group into 3 groups (DRM, FC, and SML). SNIA was growing up...

Proudest Moments while Active with the SNIA:

This had to be the first CIM demo in a hotel in Seattle. Mike Dutch (at Hitachi at that time) and I (at IBM at the time) co-architected the first CIM demo at what became the predecessor to the first SNW conference. This live demo had about 10 vendors and using a common information model (CIM) we were able to discover 10 storage arrays across the USA (and one in France) to display asset information, capacity information, and configuration information.

There are many reasons that make this my proudest moment but the two that stand out are first and foremost, this was one of the finest teams I have ever collaborated with in my career. The entire project was done with conference calls. It included not only the CIM model but a Sun initiative called Jiro, and developers from all of the major storage corporations who became suicidal to make this work, including a never before seen joint effort between Sun and Microsoft who collaborated on the entire GUI design. Company boundaries and competitive spirits were dropped, and we team focused on the goal of making this work. The second major reason I felt the pride of this effort was the result showed that it was possible to take a common information model and represent a single simplified model view and utilize methods to access the management information. Hardly anyone believed it was possible. This incredible team knew it was possible and gave their all to make it happen. I will never forget this ground-breaking experience with one of the most professional teams I have ever had the honor to work with.

SNIA's Greatest Achievements:

Certainly, the most obvious example is the SMI-S specification. However, this was somewhat of an anti-climax to me in that my first epiphany with SNIA was the determined unification of the key players to join together and solve the device-level API layer issue. I always knew a standard would be the outcome. I didn’t know how committed the storage industry would be to actually make that happen. This level of commitment became (in my opinion) the greatest achievement.

There is also an incredible second high achievement that may not get the visible credit it sincerely deserves – the education that SNIA produces for its members, its Work Groups, Forums, Initiatives, etc. and to the collective populous of joint customers who need to manage real businesses in this motley recipe of heterogeneous technologies. SNIA has excelled in creating awareness of the manageability issues, the definition of terms, technology, and the separation of marketing from this technology. This effort has successfully clarified the true picture of the problems and the technology available to solve them.

It is difficult for me to put either one of the above as being more significant than the other.