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November 08, 2011



Congrats on the awards Chuck! I will say one of my friends who used to work tech support at F5 networks told me once that of all the folks he has co-ordinated with support on EMC had the best support (though I'm sure that support cost a pretty penny! My own personal experience with EMC support last time I had an EMC system was not as positive). Now why someone from a load balancing company was co-ordinating with a storage technical support person I do not know.

But my main point is another approach rather than emphasizing massive amounts of professional services and fancy education systems might be to make the products easier to manage to make such services less important?

As a customer I value ease of use more than fancy training. I'm thinking hard to when or if I've ever taken a training class for any product storage or otherwise. I think the closest thing I've had to formal training was a vSphere 4.0 class I went to a while back from a local consulting company, a 1 or 2 day course. It was a nice break from work, I didn't really learn anything unfortunately (all the main points I already knew, I was hoping I would learn something new).

Training can often waste people's time too. Networking for example - I look at the training provided by my switch vendor of choice and I see a lot of focus on parts of the product that I have rarely, if ever used, and don't see myself using that functionality in the future, I just don't need that stuff but the training sort of forces it on you. If I'm going to be working as a "network engineer" at a company than that sort of thing may be more valuable. To me I am not a full time network engineer (or storage engineer), so my designs, and deployments are less complicated, and still very functional.

My storage vendor of choice, last I checked had no formal training at all, they just don't need it. It has been standard practice for the SE to give maybe a 2-3 hour training session on site after the first system is installed to get an overview on the basics, you can of course get something more in depth if that's what you really want but from nothing to managing the system in less than an afternoon is pretty good.

So less emphasis on vendor services, more emphasis on making products more usable :) I know that hurts profit margins but it's in the best interest of the customer.

I've heard positive things about Isilon in this area, I haven't personally used it but know a couple folks at Isilon (and having it be a Seattle-based company and me having spent the last 10 years in Seattle it's a small world up there -- I live in the Bay Area at the moment).


Actually I recall a bit more about my EMC support experience. The EMC rep we had at the time even told me (years later after he was at another storage company) that he tried very hard to get EMC to support us (we were a small shop with a CX600 and a CX500 and that's about it -- back in 2003/2004 time frame), and the formal EMC folks for some reason just didn't want to support us. I guess we weren't important enough(or we didn't pay enough, storage wasn't my responsibility back then so I don't know what we signed up for). We did get support though I think it was through a company called Logicalis or something like that rather than from EMC directly.

I'm sure things have changed a lot since then, since this was a long, long time ago.


Great post Chuck and recognition of the breadth of EMC services

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Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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