20 Inch Biceps in 3 Weeks – The Importance of a POC
By Brendan Foye, Zerto Enterprise Account Executive
(e-purposed from his post here)
In today’s social media age, solution providers have the ability to get their company messaging to more users than ever, quicker than ever. For many start-ups or even legacy solution providers, social media is now a primary tool used to market their solution. Many claims are made about what they can do, the value they believe they bring to the market; the dissemination of this information happens in a flash and is far reaching. And, of course, there is always significant conviction behind their claims “Here is what we do, take our word for it.”
The same goes for the good ole’ marketing “slicks”, the default spec document which is used to assist customers in checking off features/functionality; the document is used as a tool to compare “like” solutions in the market place. All of the buzz words are usually there such as “availability” “always on”. Lots of great buzz words and phrases. The SLAs provided are usually very aggressive because, well, that’s what customers want to hear. And, of course, everything is easy to get up and running. Again, “take my word for it.”
The tools above are largely the most relied upon sales/marketing sources when it comes to a customer’s perception of what a technology can do for them; and even more scary, these tools are used now more than ever, in a bigger way than ever, to qualify whether a technology will work for customers.
However in reality, there is significant risk in taking anyone’s word for it. There are numerous examples proving this out; the risk of taking marketing’s word for it. The best examples are found in the health industry and primarily the supplement industry, “Take this supplement and you’ll have arms like Arnold.” Or, “Just one pill a day you are sure to lose 50 lbs in 1 month.” I can go on but you get it. The truth is there is no easy weight loss solution; and, certainly, to get 20 inch biceps I’m thinking genetics and a lot of hard work over a very long time also come into play. But the marketing is full of conviction. It must work!
Now, let’s focus on technology. When a company, let’s say ZERTO, has the best mouse trap out there, it makes sense others will come to the marketing space with their own “me too” messaging which typically does a great job emulating/pretending to be something they are not. They have all the buzz words. The SLAs they communicate seem to be in line. Sales and marketing people are great at positioning technologies in just the perfect light. But is it always reality? How do you know if a solution really works? You guessed it. THE POC!
In the Hypervisor BC/DR space, when a POC is initiated, there is a good chance many gaps between marketing and reality will come to light; gaps which will never be mentioned in any marketing collateral and certainly won’t be highlighted on Twitter. And it’s only through a POC that the real functionality can be proven out in your environment. Below are some things you will be able to determine first-hand when doing a POC in the BC/DR space:
- Do you have to completely re-architect your environment to fit the solution’s providers perfect storm for an install or can you get it installed in 45 minutes?
- Is what you are testing an automation tool, or simply a scripting tool?
- Is the install, are the upgrades disruptive or is everything truly non-disruptive?
- Does the solution introduce significant latency/performance degradation across the board; or does the solution NEVER IMPACT PRODUCTION at all?
- Does the solution halt production all together for days or weeks or are you never off production?
- Are the “points-in-time” the solution provider mentions in marketing really just snapshots of which you have limited retention options for, are hours apart and impact performance or are they based on block level replication, accumulated within 7-10 seconds one another and 100% application consistent?
- Do you have to buy a ton more storage? Or is the technology very efficient in how it replicates data and provides restore points??
- Application consistency? Does the solution provide real application consistency over any number of VMs or is consistency really just one VM?
- Is there the ability to test the solution actually works successfully. Is the test disruptive? How disruptive. What’s your exposure to data loss during a test? Hours? None?
- How many chances to you get to fail-over? 1 or unlimited?
- How do you fail back? Is it automated? Manual?
As for ZERTO, we know what the answers will be to the above questions so we encourage all customers do a POC. It’s fast. It’s free. In fact, the install takes less than an hour and you will typically have a fail-over report in your hands proving your DR actually works by the end of the day. This is powerful stuff. I should Tweet about it.
But don’t take my word for it.