By Seamus Dunne
I read an article recently about data center disasters. These are events—man-made or acts of God—that take an entire data center out of service and give data center managers an unwelcome chance to test those disaster recovery procedures they have put so much planning into. Unfortunately, many CIOs and data center managers are experiencing a disaster in slow motion—they’re investing tens of millions to transform their IT infrastructure to meet 21st century business needs for efficiency and agility, but underlying the whole thing are vendor support arrangements that are stuck in the 1990s.
Disasters of all kinds can be traumatic, often leading victims down the well-known five stages of response—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It started me wondering how CIOs and data center managers might respond.
Denial: People in the denial phase don’t recognize there is a problem. After all, IT transformation is about open, modular hardware and virtualization and automation software. Traditional support arrangements cover each component and enable rapid, expert response to problems. What more could be needed?
Anger: The anger usually starts when managers begin adding up the cost of covering thousands of devices and of administering a myriad of support contracts. It intensifies when they experience vendor finger pointing or realize they are paying top dollar for rapid onsite response only to have the responder discover the failed device has been automatically sidelined by automation software and could be repaired next week. For that matter, why can’t the support service be as automated as the data center? Support services should actually prevent failures, and routine problems should fix themselves.
Bargaining: The bargaining phase begins when data center managers start looking for a better solution. Should they increase in-house expertise? Build in more redundancy? Ask each vendor to design and quote a custom support plan better tuned to their needs?
Depression: Problems seem insurmountable. It’s a cost of doing business. Maybe we should outsource the whole thing and make it someone else’s problem.
Acceptance: Here’s where my five-stages thinking fell apart. No IT organization should have to accept the kind of problems I describe above. No wonder they’re angry. They should expect a better solution, so we’ve been redesigning support to better meet the needs of 21st century IT.
A few weeks ago we announced a new HP Always-On Support Portfolio designed to match support to the changing world of IT. We made support simpler to buy and use. We made it scale as IT scales. We figured out how to personalize it to meet the needs of each organization. We leveraged tools and technology to avoid problems and optimize performance. And we’ve figured out how to tap into our experts worldwide to put the right expertise where you need it when you need it. We even negotiated partnerships with key partners to give you one number to call for multi-vendor problem resolution.
It’s the 21st century, after all. Don’t accept anything less.
View an interview with Seamus Dunne on support at the scale of a datacenter.
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