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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Rob Commins Talks Storage, IntelliFlash HD and IntelliCare Customer Care Program

Tegile Interview

This week, Tegile Systems launched something called "Lifetime Storage," the newest component of Tegile IntelliCare.  With the introduction of its newly expanded IntelliCare program, Tegile is said to be re-inventing the customer experience. 

To find out more about this and more, I caught up with Tegile Systems' VP of marketing, Rob Commins.

VMblog:  As an innovating storage provider, what is your take on the current storage market in 2016?  And what are some of the trends in storage we should be aware of in 2016 and beyond?

Rob Commins:  The last year or so has been incredibly dynamic in the storage market, and the vendor landscape is a big part of it. Dell's acquisition of EMC continues to have a massive impact on the market. Meanwhile, many of the newer vendors, like Tegile, are doing very well. Additionally, this is the year that we will see the total cost of ownership (TCO) of all-flash arrays be lower than traditional disk systems. At Tegile, we are seeing the proportion of our business in all-flash grow faster than we expected now that the economics are falling into place. The big question now is "when will just the acquisition cost of all-flash arrays be lower than traditional disk systems? That will be a real game changer.

VMblog:  You guys have announced some news around your IntelliCare program.  How does this latest news expand the offering?

Commins:  Tegile IntelliCare is a comprehensive customer care program designed to maximize the uptime and efficiency of customers' storage arrays and save them time on storage administration.With this announcement, we're expanding the advantages of IntelliCare to create a fundamentally simpler and more affordable approach to storage array ownership. Our program is now the only one that gives customers an entirely new storage system, including the controller and media, every three or five years, with a flat maintenance contract. It helps customers continuously deliver more with the same resources on their existing infrastructure, without excessive capital expenditures or large raises in maintenance costs.

VMblog:  What drove Tegile to develop this customer offering?

Commins:  Several reasons. First, as our customers consolidate more and more applications onto our arrays and deploy more and more arrays throughout their enterprises, they need to spend more time up their IT stacks to manage and optimize applications that will improve their businesses. Infrastructure needs to be invisible as possible. IntelliCare helps ensure customers' storage is running as well as possible and resolving ad hoc issues quickly. IntelliCare opens over 90 percent of our help desk tickets with no intervention from our customers' IT staff. This is a huge time saver for our customers - no more calling into our support team, no more uploading log files to an FTP server. Tegile can get to root cause faster with IntelliCare data as well. It is a win-win.

VMblog:  How does this compare to programs offered by other storage vendors?

Commins:  The big difference is how IntelliCare compares to legacy vendors' support tools. What takes hours or even days with legacy systems happens instantly with little or no human intervention. This takes a massive burden off our customers' shoulders.

Among the category of storage upstarts, other vendors have similar - but less comprehensive - support offering. Tegile's differentiator is the offer to replace customers' entire storage systems - including controller and media. This is akin to replacing an entire car, versus just the tires. As a result, we give enterprises access to the latest in storage innovation.

VMblog:  You recently launched a new array, IntelliFlash HD, that improves the economics of deploying flash technology.  How does Lifetime Storage play into this?

Commins:  Great question. IntelliFlash HD (the HD stands for high density) takes a huge leap forward in enabling enterprises to move to an all-flash data center. The economics are phenomenal. As I mentioned earlier, the cost of flash is falling much faster than Moore's Law even dictates. While IntelliFlash HDs costs are great, we all know that flash will continue getting better, faster and cheaper. With Tegile's IntelliCare Lifetime Storage program, customers get a technology refresh of their entire storage system as part of their maintenance contract. When the new system is installed, a new Lifetime Storage program can be used with zero CAPEX outlay. Unlike other programs, IntelliCare Lifetime Storage refreshes the entire array--controllers, HBAs, NICs, enclosures, and all storage media. This ensures customers' storage is always using the best combination of technology throughout the system.

VMblog:  What is the benefit of Lifetime Storage to your channel partners?

Commins:  Our channel partners are huge fans of Lifetime Storage. This program improves their stickiness with their customers by extending the timeframe of the service life of their storage technology - for a lifetime! The program also helps our channel partners get more creative with financially making flash storage easier to acquire. CAPEX is so hard to come by these days. Our channel partners can help shift infrastructure costs to OPEX and create less friction between IT and their peers in finance.

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Once again, thanks to Rob Commins for taking time out to speak with VMblog.
Published Thursday, June 23, 2016 7:44 AM by David Marshall
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