Make good with Dell/Compellent

Some months ago, the cloud service provider I work for and Dell/Compellent got into a rather public tiff regarding the performance of their SAN (Storage Area Network) arrays. We had been using their product for a few years with nothing but trouble and more trouble. Nearly all of the customer facing outages we incurred could be directly traced back to issues on the SAN. There was incredible pressure from internal management and customers to dump the thing into the Allegheny River and get something else. (well, not really dump it into the river, but writing off a quarter million dollar storage device before it is depreciated is darned close to dumping it into the river…)

An article showed up in The Register (www.theregister.co.uk) discussing all of the great new features Compellent is working on for their upcoming software upgrade. We had just struggled through another burp on the san for which yet another RCA (Root Cause Analysis) had to be presented to the customer pointing to the same problem… I could not keep my thoughts about the product to myself and laid into them with a scathing review in the article’s comments section (see here). Within days I was seeing high ranking Dell executives investigating my background on LinkedIn.com and elsewhere. Account managers and their managers were on the phone with my boss to get to the bottom of the problems. It got toasty!

It paid off.

Dell assigned us a team of top level specialists to get the issues resolved. The entire SAN configuration was reviewed, software releases were changed (some went up, some went down). Configuration changes were made, and more. The end result… the machine has been (mostly) behaving itself these last few months. The issues we have seen have not been so severe as to affect product availability, and have been properly investigated and escalated. Amazingly, we are also now in agreement as to the root cause of all the troubles we have seen.

So… Dell/Compellent… Thanks for stepping up to the plate and helping resolve the issues we faced. Many thanks to the many people who helped to get us back on the right track. There is still more work to do, but the results are already putting smiles on people’s faces.

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