You know, historically or traditionally if you talk to storage people, to technical people, they tend to speak to you in bytes and speeds and feeds and IOPs and latency and throughput and things of that nature, which are great, but at the end of the day there needs to be value to the business and sometimes it’s difficult to articulate those speeds and feeds back to business value.
Recently we had a situation where we were able to very clearly make that connection where we were sitting with Kerrie and Van and Adam and the Clear team and they came in, you know, for the monthly conversation with us and they put up the VSI charts and they showed us, they said look at this, if you add a little bit more flash you could really see some additional business value, some enhanced throughput. Again, we said, that’s great you know we’ll go back and speak to the business and try and identify where some of these performance issues were and when we did, business basically said look we don’t have any performance issues we’re actually really happy with the way the machine is performing today.
So, we said okay and went back and we reevaluated our VSI reports and we clearly saw that there was some latency that if we were to add some additional flash, as recommended by the Clear team, we could really drive additional throughput.
So what we did is we decided to change the question that we asked the business. Instead of asking them whether or not they had performance issues, we asked them if if there were jobs or things or processes that were running in their environment today, that if we could get them to run a minute for two minutes or three minutes faster, if that would be helpful to them.
When we asked them that question they quickly responded and said actually now that you mention it, there are these things running in the environment if we could just improve them a little bit it would be some value, some business value back for them.
One of the scenarios was where we have an online ordering system. In the online ordering system what happens is the customer places the order for a product online it then goes into a queue waiting on processing. Once processing is done it hits on the transactional processing that hits the plant. Once the plant gets it, it then starts the manufacturing and then the shipping process occurs. Because of latency and disk issues in our environment, this process, from the time before the order was placed to the time the plant would actually see the order, was about a six-hour gap.
Basically what the plants told us and what the business told us was that if we could somehow speed that up a little bit that would improve and optimize the whole supply chain as it relates to that particular process. So what we did is we went, we said okay, let’s put flash in and let’s try and rework a little bit of this process using the flash as the technology. Ultimately what ended up happening was we ended up getting this process down from six hours down to near-real-time.Why that’s important is, again, if you look at how the process works is you have a customer placing an order, a wait time. After the wait time that hits the manufacturing. This was taking six hours, now it was real time. So the customer was placing the order and in real time the plant was receiving the order.
What could then happen as a result of that is, because the plant received the order quicker, the plant was able to manufacture the order quicker, ship the order quicker, and the customer was able to receive their order quicker.
So, overall tremendous value as a result of something that the VSI team saw on a chart which they brought and they showed us, which ended up translating into something which was, at the end of the day, carrying some significant business value not just for us as a business but for our customer.
We’re very grateful. We love having the VSI team around and we hope to continue having them around for many many years. They add tremendous value not just to us as a business or to an IT organization, but back to our customers.