Disclaimer: After being a customer in my last role, I now work for EMC. This post is purely my opinion and was not requested, read, or approved by my employer
It was about a year and a half ago I wrote a post when I was still on the customer side of the world, about how impressed I was that my EMC sales team didn’t say a word about a competitor during a sales meeting when I walked in wearing a shirt that basically said “No SAN.” Rather than spending any time talking negatively (or at all) about a competitor, they laughed, said nice shirt, and proceeded to show me how their solution was positioned to support my workload.
What I didn’t mention in that post is that the EMC sales team was able to do this because they spent a good deal of time with us asking us questions about our application, our environment, even our sales, and new customer outlook for the coming year. See they wanted to find a solution that supported our application and all of its requirements. During a several week period, in which I talked with many vendors, EMC was more interested in get details about our current environment and what our thoughts were on how it was going to expand. It wasn’t until they had collected data from our existing environment, worked through scenarios with us that detailed our expected growth, and analyzed that data that they suggested a solution for us.
Even after that, I was sure that there was some new technology out there that could better fit our needs. I must have talked with 15 different vendors; from hyperconverged, to hybrid arrays, and all flash arrays. Do you know how many of those vendors ever asked to view details about our existing environment? Or how many of the vendors asked about our expected changes or growth? The answer - zero, zilch, nadda. I didn’t provide a bit of data about our application or how it was operating. At most I was asked about IOPs to which all of them assured me they could handle it. And they very well might have. But there was only one vendor I could truly be certain was suggesting a solution that would fit the demands of our application.
Next time you are meeting with a vendor, and they brush over application requirements, current trends in use, or expected growth, ask yourself if that is really the best way to go about supporting your organization. Sure someone can drop a new widget into your network in 2 weeks, but what if it ends up not supporting your application workloads the way you expected? Personally, I’d rather take a few extra weeks to really analyze what’s going on.