Great interview of Enrique Salem, CEO of Symantec, at SearchDataBackup, with regard to Symantec’s backup appliances and proactive monitoring of hardware:
SearchDataBackup.com: Do you have to convince customers you can get hardware right?
Salem: When you think of the appliance business, there are a lot of things around it to allow customers to use it reliably. One of the capabilities we’re focused on is how to do reliable remote diagnostics of what’s happening to an appliance. When they put an appliance in, a lot of customers are saying, ‘Great, but when there’s something wrong with the device I want to know about it.’ And they’d like that to be a proactive notification from Symantec. There’s a lot of work we’re doing around the hardware product.
This is an absolutely brilliant idea. We love it. Our customers love it. When we released it two years ago, our customers were thrilled.
I do think Symantec is right. One thing that I always thought when they and CommVault were slapping their software on Dell hardware and pushing it out the door (last I looked, both Symantec and CommVault were still doing this – although the AppAssure acquisition seems to have taken the shine off that) was that the kind of “vertically integrated” all-in-one backup appliance motion they were trying to attach to had legs if only they understood that they had to be responsible for the whole enchilada.
But I’d note the following. In order to really nail this, you have to engineer your support organization from the top-down and bottom-up to not only support proactive monitoring of the underlying hardware, but you have to have a customer-first perspective in your support.