Changing the Customer Experience
The image above is a picture of change. A change of an industry. Reed Hastings, the co-founder of Netflix, is looking into a closed down abandoned Blockbuster. Imagine what he was thinking? I bet he never expected to transform the movie industry so quickly. One thing is certain; they changed the customer experience for movie lovers worldwide.
If you remember back, Blockbuster was a staple in the traditional household. On any given evening, you would find movie lovers fighting to find the most recent releases. Unfortunately, the customer experience was very challenging. You arrived completely unaware if the movie you desired was in stock. Getting the newest release was close to impossible, due to high demand and lack of visibility. In most cases, you left without the movie you wanted, and in some cases completely empty handed. To make matters worse, while checking out, you got beat up with late fees from previous rentals. Reed is often stated that he decided to start Netflix after being fined $40 at a video store for being late to return a copy of Apollo 13. Although I believe that story is false, it is a situation we have all experienced.
Netflix showed up to the market with a much better customer experience. Unlimited rentals, with no late fees, complete visibility of all movies, and a simple and intuitive interface. Net net, Netflix alleviated the challenges that Blockbuster created. Blockbuster realized the ills of their ways and tried to evolve, but their past customer experience pushed their customers away and into the hands of Netflix.
Enterprise storage companies of the past directly resemble the customer experience of Blockbuster. Customers are forced to deal with complexity, inefficiency, and high costs. Good news is that Pure provided a dramatically different experience
How is Pure Storage any different?
To start with, we always put ourselves in our customers shoes, to understand their challenges. We constantly heard that complexity, inefficiency, inconsistent performance, and horrible long-term costs were major issues. We decided to make our core tenants and business model the exact opposite of the typical customer experience of enterprise storage. Many of our early customers stated “you guys figured out all the things that suck with EMC and did the exact opposite.”
Change of Perspective and A Fresh Look
Efficiency in the Datacenter is an Oxymoron
Anything that requires racks of gear should make you question the innovativeness of the solution. If it is missing data reduction software, throw it out! At Pure, we changed the face of the datacenter. Racks and racks consolidated down to a few rack units. 10x consolidation rates happened at the beginning. Now we are consolidating 20+ racks down to 4 Rack Units (10th of a rack) with FlashBlade. Costs for power, cooling, and datacenter space were slashed through software and hardware innovation. We decided to incorporate every possible data reduction feature set possible from day one. Deduplication (at a 512byte anchor point), compression (inline and deeper post compression), pattern removal, and thin provisioning. This gives customers the best possible economics and efficiency from the very beginning.
The Storage Maintenance Racket
Maintenance never goes up – always flat and fair
Free controllers every 3 years replaced non-disruptively without impact
Trade in credit for controllers and capacity
All this while never needing to forklift upgrade, never buying the same TB, and never taking a downtime or maintenance window again. I mean, seriously awesome…..
Proactive Support = Happy Customers
Lastly, the support experience. We were told early on, that our support would probably suck as bad as EMC, NetApp, HP, or IBM, as soon as we got to their size. This honestly scared us into taking action early. Our goal has alway been to have customers never call support. We would proactively reach out to them. We decided to build a machine learning solution to automate support and make it proactive. Our arrays send home telemetry data every 30 seconds as well as all our software logs every hour. Each time a customer called with an issue, we would look at the pathology of the issue throughout the logs. We would then create a finger print to identify the issue in logs. Every hour we run a health check against all arrays in the population. For issues we find, we automatically open tickets for our customers and resolve it. We have avoided over 8,000 potential issues and 170 severity ones since inception.
Think about this for a minute. Imagine if all humans sent back telemetry data to a center location. Every doctor created a fingerprint for every issue they saw in patients and a health check was completed once an hour across all humans. Imagine how healthy the population would be if we had that data and correlative analysis.
Staying with the Status Quo
As much as I would love to say I was one of first Netflix customers, I was not. I stayed with status quo for a bit and dealt with Blockbuster. But it didn’t take long before I changed over to Netflix and I have never looked back. The customer experience is game changing. That said, I sometimes understand why customers stay with the traditional storage vendors. BUT, that won’t last forever. The customer experience has already shifted the market towards Pure. Pure Storage has been providing customers the best product, user experience, cost model, and support experience for many years. The numbers do not lie. It is only a matter of time for the guys in blue go completely in the red. 🙂
Want more information on Pure Storage? Please click the Pure Storage link above, or go to www.purestorage.com
Until next time!