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Remote Service can speed storage virtualization implementation

by Hu Yoshida on Mar 10, 2010

Hitachi Data Systems has been very successful selling the benefits of Storage Virtualization and Dynamic Provisioning. An independent, third party research report indicates that Hitachi Data Systems customers have seen impressive returns on the use of storage virtualization of their storage assets. Seventy-eight percent of the customers surveyed reported seeing payback on their investment in storage virtualization technologies in as early as 6 months. 86% of USP V and VM customers have increased their performance 10 to 25% compared to other enterprise storage systems in their prior environment.

These results are very compelling and I have found users very receptive to the concepts of reducing costs and increasing utilization and performance with Hitachi storage virtualization and Dynamic Provisioning. Many customers will make the decision and buy the technology, but sometimes when I return to visit them, I find that the storage is just being used for capacity and the virtualization tools have not been implemented. Even though they bought the technology and believe in the benefits, they have not had the time or resources to implement it or, worse yet, they did not do the correct planning and implemented virtualization in a sub-optimal way. As a result the virtualization technologies become shelf ware and that is not good for the customer and is not good for Hitachi.

In order to address this problem, Hitachi Data Systems has been offering remote services to help customers offload some of the grunt work so that their storage administrators can find the time to get trained and implement these virtualization technologies. While there might be some resistance to implementing new technologies, most storage administrators are eager to learn and up grade their skills if only they had the time.
Today we issued a press release to highlight remote storage management services that we have been offering for some time to address this problem. There are four levels of service that are spelled out in this press release. The first is a score card report where storage systems are monitored remotely; information is analyzed, and presented on a monthly basis. The second is remote reporting where data is gathered, presented, compared with best practices and recommendations for improvements are reported to the customer for his decision and implementation. A third level is available where the customer and Hitachi remote service personnel come to a decision on the recommendations and Hitachi does the reconfiguration remotely. Remote services are provided from a Services Operations Center which is staffed by certified and experienced systems and storage administrators who are available 24 hours a day. They have access to Hitachi’s knowledge base of best practices and procedures for running Hitachi Storage, ITIL based support for incident, problem and change management, and full access to HDS technical resources.

A fourth option is a residency program where trained Hitachi storage or systems administrators reside on site for a period of 3 months or more to provide expertise to improve operational efficiency, drive a higher, quicker return on investment, fill critical skill or experience gaps. Systems administrators can provide day to day administration for operating systems, Oracle DBA, UNIX, and windows admin. Storage administrators can provide storage allocation, software certification, service continuity, incident, change, release, and asset management. Custom residencies can be tailored to precise requirements out side the storage environment but with in the IT infrastructure.
We already have a number of large customers who are using these services like Qualcomm, BT, and O2 who have seen the value in leveraging these services to improve their SLA’s and allocate their staffs to higher value added activity such as moving forward with their storage virtualization plans. You don’t have to be a big customer to realize these benefits. Contact your Hitachi Data Systems Storage representative if you want to find out more.

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Comments (3 )

Biju Krishnan on 10 Mar 2010 at 11:19 pm

This is a good initiative, especially since finding people with expertise is such a difficult thing.

Question is – would this be partner driven or driven directly by HDS??

One of the items on my wish list has been better involvement by HDS in post sales work. If you look at EMC, they have some control on the configuration of the storage array which prevents the customer from accidentally overloading the array or using it in a wrong way. I know of 2 large customers who use virtualised AMS SATA for Netapp gateways sold by HDS, both are complaining of performance trouble. If we open a support case for performance issues, most times we just get the graphs and the analysis is left to us customers.

I feel by adding offerings based on services, HDS will now be able to focus on improving post sales support and see it as a source of revenue rather than a liability.

Hu Yoshida on 13 Mar 2010 at 6:06 pm

Hello Biju,

We are driving this internally, but we can enable our partners to do the same. The tools we use are available from us to our partners, and the process is based on ITIL. Our main interest is on enabling our customers to move forward as quickly as possible with out being bogged down in grunt work.

The other danger that you point out is that customers may jump into a solution without the proper training to set expectations and excute the solution. Service will help to get the best out of new technologies.

John Tourloukis on 23 Aug 2010 at 7:03 pm

How does it work with SRM? We’ve had issues with bandwidth and replication keeping the data in sync. There are some good third party apps to help with this.

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