I enjoy the number of customers that I am afforded the opportunity to meet as VCE’s Chief Technology Officer. Many of my customer discussions center around our technology strategy and where the industry is heading from VCE’s perspective. I am always excited to share those views but often find that I stumble upon a discussion about the future, which intersects with the support VCE offers today.
Coming to market with a support offering as unique as VCE’s seamless support experience (see: The Vblock™ Support Experience) requires a more comprehensive communication as many can misinterpret our approach to certain support topics.
VCE’s seamless support experience is the most integrated premium support experience for any converged infrastructure solution produced by our investors either independently or partnered together. That seamless support experience is provided for all products manufactured within the Vblock™ System and included in our standard bill-of-materials. Many ask what is in our standard bill-of-materials and that information varies based on model of system and the associated configuration options available for a customer to choose.
In general a Vblock™ System standard bill-of-materials will include:
System Environmentals: Cables, Racks, Airflow Baffles
System Power: Power Distribution Units
Management Infrastructure: UCS C-series, Catalyst Switches, (optional) VNXe Storage
Production Compute: UCS C-Series or UCS B-Series
Production Network: Nexus 1000v, Nexus 5500 Series, (optional) Nexus 7000 Series
Production Fabric: Nexus 5500 Series and/or MDS 9000 Series
Production Storage: EMC VNXe, VNX, VMAX
Production & Management Virtualization Hypervisor: VMware vSphere
Production Virtualization Management: vCenter
Production Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: VMware View
Production Storage Path Management: EMC PowerPath VE
Optional Production Data Protection: EMC Avamar and/or Data Domain
Optional Production Replication: EMC RecoverPoint
Optional Production Workload Mobility: Nexus 7000 OTV & EMC VPLEX
Customer’s will choose their system configuration based on workload requirements. The elements they choose within the options of the standard bill-of-materials will be built in VCE manufacturing facilities. The system resources physically and logically built in manufacturing will be included in VCE’s seamless support experience. Future upgrades to those system resources, through expansion of compute or storage footprint will also be supported by VCE’s seamless support experience. The seamless support experience provides customers with specialized staff, trained in how each system resource is assembled and the versions of firmware/software those resources operate. Release compatibility matrixes are regularly published providing guidance to customers on which versions of software and their associated configurations have been rigorously tested for production operation.
Many scenarios emerge beyond what is covered by VCE seamless support. A key message is to first understand that VCE will cooperatively engage with any investor or 3rd party organization in support of a customer. VCE will pursue all reasonable effort to determine whether the Vblock™ System is operating correctly. If the customer is running a non-VMware hypervisor (KVM, Hyper-V, Citrix Xen) that reasonable effort will include taking the customer call and ensuring that the hardware and all system communications are functioning properly. VCE will cooperatively engage with a third party if we cannot independently determine that the problem is hardware or third party OS/Hypervisor related.
Long story short if the technologies you want to run on your Vblock™ System are published in VMware, Cisco & EMC hardware and software compatibility guides VCE will make all reasonable effort to support our customers, as described above.
For the technologies we manufacture with the system you will get the most differentiated experience in the industry from customer advocates through specialized engineering, escalation resources and regularly published compatibility matrixes. Too my knowledge our competition doesn’t test the various firmware and operating system combinations for their architectures, I am also under the impression that support resources are simply component specialists not responsible for the methods to which the component technologies integrate. Finally, I am not aware of an organization who provides end-to-end converged infrastructure support including performance troubleshooting and problem reproduction. VCE does and that is the seamless support experience. If you want to run things that aren’t covered in the seamless support experience, you can, you will simply get a cooperative support experience.