Convergence is about more than putting piece together, it is about looking for opportunities to do things in a better way with a complete solution. John Furrier of SiliconAngle recently interviewed Tony Kolish, SVP of EMC Worldwide Customer Support, and they discussed how support is critical to an environment that spans multiple technologies and multiple companies. Kolish says that the same best-in-class service that EMC offers for storage must translate to complete converged product.
Not Your Average Partner Support
At last count, EMC had over 650 cooperative support agreements (CSAs) with partners. A CSA makes sure that partner support and engineering organizations will work together to resolve a problem without the finger pointing that plagues the boundaries between some vendor interactions. While EMC has long had CSAs in place with Cisco and VMware, the transition to creating Vblocks and The VCE Company required the support organizations to work much closer.
In 2009, Tony Kolish reached out to his peers inside Cisco and VMware to put together processes to allow the three companies to act as one from a support standpoint. His goal was to put services and support towards the top of the VCE value proposition along with the Vblock technology. From a delivery standpoint, customers get a single service contract and service requests are synchronized between all of the parent company support organizations so that the support organizations from the three companies act as a single team. In addition to the coalition members, service providers can also plug directly into the support chain. The deep commitment to seamless support for pokes holes in competitive claims that VCE is simply a collection of white papers or reference architecture.
Just as customers must go through organizational changes as they adopt converged technologies, vendors must make sure that support organizations are up to speed on the interaction between the layers of the stack. Whether the pieces all come from a single vendor or from a coalition, support of the total solution should always be a top consideration for CIOs when choosing infrastructure.