Traditionally, when a company needed to send someone to training, it was focused on one product. Ten or fifteen years ago, only one engineer or administrator was required to take care of one tool. This single tool, be it messaging, networking, OS or storage, could occupy that professional for years. The IT industry has evolved, though, and the days of surviving on just one technology skill set are long gone. In a real-life rendition of the Who Moved My Cheese fable, companies have had to push engineers to be more open to learning new skill sets. The Storage engineer now must learn to be familiar with VMware. The Network engineer has to become skilled at troubleshooting OS issues. The messaging engineer needs to learn how the network operates, and so on. This has resulted in present day IT teams that are more versatile and better prepared for interconnected technologies and rapid change. There are no more clear lines in the sand where one person’s work ends and another’s begins.
This has given rise to a need for cross training and a new resulting issue. Unfortunately, training is very expensive. A few thousand dollars will allow a block storage engineer to learn more about file data, but today that individual may need many other additional skill sets. The narrow one-tool/one-class method is too expensive and inefficient for the 21st century. Conferences such as DELL EMC World take a broader approach. While charging the same amount a company might pay for one class, they present multiple trainings that pertain to various practices and tools. In one week, an engineer or manager can become familiar with Dell EMC tools for many purposes, whether it is unstructured data, cloud, automation, Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), block storage, or even security. The courses are geared to different interest levels such as management, sales, or technical and the gamut can be covered during one training period, at a much lower cost. Given the size of the new Dell EMC company and its wealth of combined products, it offers as much as anyone one person could expect to learn in one place. This is what we need to keep people relevant in today’s ever-changing IT field.
Solidifying Relationships with Customers
People in the sales world view strengthening customer and prospect relationships as their number one goal. Formal meetings and presentations at the offices of customers are a daily commitment. This is where a company can present their technical acumen and show the customer why they should choose them over their competitor. However, from another perspective this is also very limiting. Seeing a person only in a sales environment will lead to a relationship that feels like it is primarily about the next deal, the next opportunity. If you want to be a true partner, a trusted advisor, you need a relationship that is more than an exchange of technical jargon in a meeting. While bouncing from session to session at a conference such as Dell EMC world, you can talk more openly with customers and colleagues about the positives and negatives stemming from the new information you just absorbed. You can seamlessly discuss how this new technology or announcement will impact your team members and clients, who are generally also your friends. Incidental discussions arise around hobbies or some background on how you achieved your position in the field. This often leads to insights about the customer’s needs that you might not have learned in a more formal environment. Socializing allows you to better know your customer’s attitude, perspective and methodology. This is absolutely invaluable when trying to present a complex solution to that customer or to an IT team that is serving that account.
EMC Technical Announcements
There were a number of announcements at EMC World this year:
- Isilon is being sold with new hardware specs. The new Gen6 nodes will be able to maintain the position as the number one scale-out NAS platform. This new generation of Isilon offers a more compact architecture that will provide four Isilon nodes within a 4U Chassis.
- The new XtremIO X2 was announced with XIOS 6.0. This will offer 25% better data reduction and 80% better response time. This is on top of the already leading Gen1 XtremIO AFA in the market today.
- The mid-range Unity also received a number of upgrades. Among the announcements were the new line up of models, offering up to 40% more processor cores and double the system memory for advanced data services.
- The EMC flagship VMAX was not to be left behind. The VMAX 950F, a new higher end array, was announced as an addition to the VMAX AFA Family, which has been performing as promised in customer environments. This new array offers four times faster storage performance than the competition in real-world scenarios. Compared to the previous generation, this new VMAX offers 30% better response time and 68% faster IOPS, with a 25% reduction in physical footprint.
These were just a few of the many advantages for attending the Dell EMC World, which is much more than just a conference. This massive gathering of IT professionals affords an unparalleled opportunity for training, social engagement, and news about technical developments. And, did I mention, it is also a lot of fun! I hope to see you there next year.