We love hearing from customers, so we were thrilled to sit down with Chris Angell, Group IT Manager of TESC Contracting Company Ltd. to learn why he chose HC3! TESC is a large construction company specializing in industrial construction and mineral processing. Downtime in their environment meant downtime to remote construction crews. Any delay in the construction schedule could bring substantial financial penalties from the TESC clients. In this 3 minute video, you’ll hear Chris discuss how HC3 was able to solve their high availability requirements and how TESC was able to invest in a new ERP system with the savings seen from choosing HC3 over the other alternatives in consideration.
In preparing for the MES show this week, I was reviewing some of the presentation materials and happened to stop on our ScaleCare slide long enough to see the resemblance between our heart logo and the heart containers from The Legend of Zelda (my favorite game of 1987).
If you’re like me, then you also have the Zelda theme song stuck in your head about now.
I was a loyal gamer and loved Nintendo (the publisher of Zelda). If someone had called me on their rotary dial phone in 1987 to ask “How likely is it that you would recommend Nintendo to a friend” on a scale of 1-10, I would have said 10 without hesitating. I was clearly a “promoter” of Nintendo as were most users of the day.
Net Promoter Score
This one question, as simple as it sounds, is a fantastic measure of the loyalty that exists between a provider (Nintendo in the example above) and a consumer (me). It is the sole question of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and it is something that we measure on a monthly/quarterly basis at Scale to measure our progress internally as well as our rank among other companies in the industry. Customers respond on a 0 to 10 point rating system and are then categorized into groups based on their answer:
- Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
- Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
- Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.
To calculate Scale’s NPS, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors. Simple, right?
World Class NPS
Despite the simplicity, it is actually hard to score well. The average computer company scores somewhere around 29 and the average software company 35. I’m very proud to say that Scale Computing is currently at 75! This puts us among other loved brands such as Amazon.com (76), Trader Joes (73) and Costco (71). Not bad company to keep!
Customer loyalty is important to us and we will continue to strive for a world class Net Promotor Score to reflect the world class products and support we bring to market.
With the Zelda theme song still stuck in my head, I’ll remind you: “It’s Dangerous to go alone! Take this”.
To summarize and conclude this series, I want to offer some “rules” or at least “guidelines” that I believe small and mid-sized businesses should consider when planning for their virtual infrastructure.
First – ensure your design provides data and compute redundancy across multiple “boxes” wherever possible. And Second – you can provide for both with a single “mirror” copy of your data simply by putting your “RAID” mirror on a remote server. These both seem rather obvious but it’s amazing how often these simple principles are ignored … often by putting all the storage inside a single shared SAN “box” that becomes a single point of failure, or creating costly over-replication … using both local RAID with storage overhead to protect against a disk failure and in addition creating additional replicas on different hosts to protect against server failures, often resulting in 4 or more copies of all your data.
Next, be very cautious purchasing “de-featured” or “entry-bundled” software. Many vendors of software only solutions will have multiple “editions” and bundles that may seem attractively priced until you need to expand and add a new server or activate some new feature they figured you ultimately will need. Seemingly “expected” things can instantly double your licensing costs such as adding one additional server to a cluster exceeding a “bundle” or wanting to use one “enterprise feature” (perhaps like storage live migration after you’ve maxed out a non-scale out SAN controller and need to move data between multiple SANs).
This may be controversial but I suggest you save admin training days / $’s for applications that create real business value for your company – not basic infrastructure and IT plumbing. I believe that will benefit you as an IT professional. Along that line, the level of typical training required as well as install / configuration time of a solution is a good representation of complexity and cost of ongoing maintenance you should expect – something that takes 10x longer to setup and configure is going to take at least 10x more time to maintain, patch and troubleshoot. Quite honestly maybe more than 10x because installation is a lot more “standard” than keeping a complex, changing, interdependent environment up and running.
Here is one that few will argue yet many ignore – don’t buy today what you think you will need in 3 years. I understand that many architectures don’t lend themselves to expansion …or perhaps expansion requires using “today’s” CPU model or architecture for compatibility and there are concerns about future availability and costs. The best strategy is to select an architecture that avoids that (hint, hint) and even then buy just enough to cover your ability to predict your needs. Three years is way to much for anyone, 6 months to a year may be reasonable for most and fit normal purchasing / budgeting cycles.
Lastly – simplicity is good. Dealing with fewer vendors that offer standardized modular configurations is way better than assembling the very best but totally customized mouse trap you can. Not only should you have peace of mind knowing that Scale gives you one place to call, but when you do call we know your exact configuration. We test it with every software change we make and provide you updates for the entire software stack in one step.
I hope this series has been beneficial and would love to hear any additional “rules” you would like to suggest in the comments.
Every time I go to the UK, I watch an episode of the old Da Ali G Show on my laptop. Sacha Baron Cohen (AKA Borat) is one of my favorite British comedians, and I usually laugh out loud on the airplane with my Scale Computing HC3 Beats by Dre headphones on. More on what we can learn from this later.
I was recently in London on business, and over the course of the week we met with a number of Scale Computing’s EMEA customers, current and new resellers, and UK based press. It was a fantastic week in which we celebrated the first “birthday” of our groundbreaking and industry-leading platform HC3. We celebrated going from a standing start to over 700(!) HC3 customer implementations in the year since HC3’s release. In addition, we had 50% gains in implemented appliance nodes and new customers in our EMEA market. Clearly HC3 and hyperconvergence are quickly gaining momentum in EMEA.
We had customers and partners from UK, France and South Africa and guests from Poland and even Lithuania come join us in celebrating the success of HC3. At our Birthday Celebration we had two UK customers testify as to how Scale and HC3 had changed their way of doing things. Leonard Powers (watch the video!) from Safran Power UK, a major manufacturer of aircraft electrical generation systems, spoke of how he needed virtualization to help Safran simplify their IT infrastructure and applications. Leonard spoke of how he evaluated HP and Dell solutions, along with VMware, and instead chose Scale over all those major vendors. He also spoke of how the French parent company’s IT staff were amazed at how easy it was to create VM’s, move and manage them from the single pane-of-glass console of HC3, and how no special training was needed. Everyone at Safran was pleasantly surprised when they realized there are NO LICENSE FEES to pay to Scale, ever. Leonard told his colleagues we weren’t VMware, we are BETTER. Continue reading
It’s always good to reflect on the feedback you are being given. So I wanted to take some time and share some of the comments that I have received about HC3. *Only names have been changed due to shyness.
“The Tired IT Commuter”
“Ronald” is the lone IT person at his company. He’s spread across three educational sites managing 100 servers and 500 desktops. He has to commute up to 50 miles in-between all of these sites. I could hear the tiredness in his voice and when he saw the solution that I was introducing him to, that tiredness turned into excitement. All servers, across all sites, managed by a single browser – it was the simple answer to a question he’d pondered for years.
“The Jaded CTO”
I spent time with another customer, “Tony,” who originally was quoted a monolithic virtualization solution. He is the CTO of a manufacturing company and upset because he could not justify the price for an enterprise solution when he was not an enterprise company. His needs were different and he didn’t need everything that was being sold to him. He searched for a reason not to purchase a solution from Scale Computing since we were not an incumbent solution. During my onsite install with him, I asked about his purchasing decision and he told me that we gave him everything he needed. If he needed extra features, he would buy them from third-party vendors but he appreciated that he wasn’t forced into buying them.
“The Prudent Admin”
Lastly, I discussed the infrastructure needs of a long-time storage customer of mine, “Jared.” He was burdened by the aspects of virtualization that required him to construct an environment from disparate parts. I asked him why he didn’t just add virtualization into the existing Scale Computing storage that he previously purchased. He was dumbfounded. The shift of simply expanding his existing technology had not occurred to him since it is so foreign in IT technology. Once he learned that it was as simple as adding HC3 into his existing Scale storage, he never looked back.
The vast majority of people I talk to echo these sentiments, and as you can see, my team does not simply ship product and move on. We are proud that we can help these customers build a solution that works well for their companies. As one IT person to another, I am glad that we can work together to build something better.
*Guest blogger and Scale employee, Morgan Myers.
There are a few moments in life when you look at the world around you and truly feel connected. That moment when you hold a newborn in your arms and marvel at the complexities and joys of a new being, all of the infinitesimal parts that had to have come together to make the perfect whole, like a well-oiled, natural machine, is one of those moments. At Scale Computing, we want that moment for you when you look at your new HC3™ cluster. We want you to step back with awe and hope for the future, because that is what we believe our software holds for small-to-midsize businesses. Continue reading
*Guest blogger and Scale employee, Mike Lyon.
The support team at Scale strives to provide a “best ever” experience for our end-users and partners. What exactly constitutes this best ever experience, though? How do we underscore and define what that means? Continue reading