End users vs vendors

End users often have niggles and complaints about vendors' services, but rarely have the chance to put them on the spot in public. ACN went to these companies on their behalf - these are the responses.

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By  Team ACN Published  July 12, 2008

End users often have niggles and complaints about vendors' services, but rarely have the chance to put them on the spot in public. ACN went to these companies on their behalf - these are the responses.

I'm tired of vendors showing me endless presentations about virtualisation talking about how it's an enterprise 'game-changer'. What I want to know is, what are the tangible features, advantages and benefits virtualisation can offer that actually affect my bottom line?

Vendor: Sun Microsystems

Process: We received an e-mail from Sun's PR agency the next day suggesting several times for a face-to-face meeting. Post-interview, we received follow-up calls and e-mails asking about the quality of the response and if it lacked any details. 5/5

Response: Basil Ayass, X86 product manager at Sun Microsystems labelled virtualisation a buzz word which only confused potential buyers.

"You cannot buy ‘virtualisation' - there's no such thing. It's like the Asian fable of six blind men trying to describe an elephant by touching it and coming up with six different accounts. Similarly, virtualisation has a hundred explanations," he said.

Ayass defined virtualisation as a tool that enables customers to have a more flexible and cost-effective IT infrastructure, partitioning one resource into several. He gave examples of customers which consolidated 40 servers into five, saving on power and cooling costs as well as conserving space - and emphasised that these examples are the real story behind virtualisation, rather than empty marketing. 5/5

Vendor: Fujitsu Siemens Computers

Process: Fujitsu Siemens's PR didn't acknowledge receipt of our initial e-mail, but replied the following day with the complete answer via e-mail. When we informed them that the answer was too technical, the PR arranged a follow-up interview within an hour, and checked post-interview to see if the answer was satisfactory. 4/5

Response: Chandan Mehta, enterprise product manager at Fujitsu Siemens Computers, provided an overly-technical answer that was steeped in IT jargon. For example, he stated that server virtualisation should focus on "increasing computing densities, analogous to layer 1 and 2 of the OSI layer (VM and Hypervisor)."

His amended response was: "In a nutshell, virtualisation allows customers to better utilise their infrastructure and also reduce the total number of components in the datacentre. It is a simplification of the physical infrastructure or classic virtualisation as people understand it to be and basically, consolidation. This is what gives direct benefits to the customers." 3/5

Vendor: c

Process: Citrix's PR firm was the fastest to respond to our initial e-mail, and we secured a phone interview within a day. The firm was also quick to call post-interview to check if the information received was acceptable. 4/5

Response: Nick Black, manager for systems engineering MEA, provided a response that illustrated precisely the problems that end users face getting easily-digestable information about virtualisation.

His exhaustingly comprehensive answer was heavily biased towards explaining what the different types of server and application virtualisation mean - and how Citrix products perform virtualisation - rather than explaining how it can directly benefit the business. At times, Black's response seemed akin to reading a Citrix product brochure.

Black highlighted operating system virtualisation as Citrix's specialty: "With our Provisioning Server product, you can change an existing XP Pro desktop into a Vista or SUSE desktop within 18-20 seconds by simply rebooting, giving you a pristine image which doesn't have memory leaks or legacy patches degrading performance that desktop. This saves companies money by keeping users more productive." 2/5

3922 days ago

Amazing how a media organization is able to get a response from vendors. Recently I've approached 12 different companies to get help with a new ERP Project. We're not a small company, annual turnover in the billions... Only 4 actually returned calls/emails and only 2 decided to pursue discussions further.

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