The data explosion gains momentum with each passing day, and the storage solutions that help us wrangle our increasing mountains of information grow more and more complex. As I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago, that complexity can only decrease overall reliability as more and more lines of hastily written code drive the most critical portions of our infrastructure.
All of this puts a much more critical focus on the support that your storage vendor provides. Instead of seeing a broken drive or controller that just needs replacing, I often run across problems in the field that turn out to be software bugs requiring engineering input to diagnose and resolve.
[ Also on InfoWorld.com: Learn how data deduplication can slow the explosive growth of data with Keith Schultz's Deep Dive Report. | Looking to revise your storage strategy? See InfoWorld's iGuide to the Enterprise Data Explosion. ]
While we're becoming more and more dependent on vendor support to keep the infrastructure humming, the quality and reliability of that support itself seems less and less likely to live up to our expectations.
The way support should work
Though I had to go outside IT to find a great example -- which says something in itself -- I recently had a great experience that reminded me of what enterprise support should be.
A few nights ago, I got home from a long day on the road. As I was heading inside, I noticed an enormous puddle of transmission fluid underneath the front of my truck -- bad news. A quick check showed that there was literally no fluid in the transmission; I was lucky to have made it home at all. One thing was clear: That truck wasn't going anywhere on its own.
Given that it was late at night, there wasn't really anyone I could call, so I dropped an email to my mechanic, let him know what had happened, and asked for advice. First thing in the morning, he called me on my cell phone and said that, based on my description of the problem, he knew what was broken and what the solution would be. He had already dispatched a tow truck to pick it up that morning and would probably have it ready to return to me by the end of the day. He was true to his word.
That kind of above-and-beyond service is rare in any situation, but it is exactly what we should expect from the vendors supporting the mission-critical storage infrastructure on which our entire businesses are built. A direct, knowledgeable response from a known contact with a clear action plan and a set time for problem resolution are key components of superb support.