Purchasing Professional Storage Services, Part 2 Page 3


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Continued from Page 2

Final Thoughts on Storage PS

When I started this series I wanted to be up front that I could be considered somewhat biased, as in my “day job” the company I work for is an independent PS organization. I believe, though, that I have treated the topic fairly given the complexity of the issues.

Hardware vendors with large PS organizations cannot have them sitting around for long periods of time, nor can smaller organizations. Most PS organizations build in a certain amount of downtime for training, and time between projects, and in general large organizations tend to build in more downtime, which is one of several factors as to why their cost is higher.

I am a strong advocate that, unless you have outsourced the whole operation, a company’s own staff must be trained to take over any new storage system. Your own employees will always know the requirements and the nuances of the environment, whereas it may take years for a PS organization to learn your company’s inner workings.

Still, the local personnel may not be able to install and configure new, complex storage systems no matter how smart they are or how much training they get. And some of the systems I have installed have never been attempted before, so there is no training available. What is available for local staff via hiring a PS organization is mentoring once the system has been installed and the quirks and bugs have been resolved.

Overall, if the hardware and software are the same color, it makes good sense to strongly consider letting the vendor PS or reseller PS organization do the installation. This presents you with just one call to make to get resolution to problems, and that call will go to a servicing group that ought to know how to install their own hardware and software.

One thing that should never happen regardless of who is doing the work, is OJT (on the job training) — you should never pay for the PS organization to be training their own people. And it goes without saying that if you are paying for a chief architect, that person should have the abilities of a chief architect.

A final tip: clearly define expectations in any PS contract for all the types of people involved, by either doing it yourself or by getting the vendor’s definition of each of the roles of PS personnel. Storage PS organizations should provide the right people to get the job done in the estimated time for projects that are pretty straightforward.

On the other hand, if you are trying to do something that is less than straightforward, you had better expect the PS vendor to build risk into the bid. All too often, Murphy’s rule applies.

Please feel free to send any comments, feedback, and/or suggestions for future articles to Henry Newman.

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