Notes from vmWorld 2012 Day 1...what are users talking about?
So….vmWorld 2012 in beautiful San Francisco. This is the event where vendors of various shapes and sizes put together their best combination of sizzle and steak. Sometimes the sizzle outshines the steak, but most of the time, there are very valuable conversations where users really bring home a message to manufacturers about what they want to see in future solutions. In making the rounds yesterday, I saw more than one person on a unicycle, somebody escaping from a dymatized metal box, a man in straight jacket…on a unicycle, and even a mini half pipe with actual skaters using it. Lots of flash in hopes of capturing the user community’s attention.
However, in the conversations I had with users (and the ones I overheard by eavesdropping) the most common subject I heard about was simplicity. Not in those words exactly, but it boiled down to ease of use. Whether it comes to licensing, purchasing, installation or functionality, complexity gets in the way of productivity.
With Backup Exec 2012, Symantec wants to bring simplicity to your organization. I spoke with two gentlemen in the Education sector yesterday who wanted to ease their lives by making a transition from Backup Exec to the BE 3600 appliance. They have 22 TB of data, de-duped down to 12 TB and want to reduce the complexity of their BE experience wherever they can. In this particular case, the appliance makes the most sense. They can reduce their purchase down to one SKU, and not worry about a renewal date for three years. The license covers all of their needs and they are able to protect new virtual machines or databases as they come online, without additional purchases.
In a conversation I overheard while watching the man escape from the box, two users were discussing their combined solutions to protect virtual and physical environments. It was a variation on the all too common “I inherited Solution X, but I have always used Solution Y, so I brought that in to protect Environment Z.” Wow, that seems like a lot of extra work for a group of people who already do a lot of extra work.
In years past, at events like this, I heard lots of talk about speeds and feeds or bleeding edge technology. But yesterday, the overwhelming topic of conversation was about making things easier. Have we pushed our industry into too complex a neighborhood? Assuming equal quality among competitive products, do users prefer price, performance or simplicity? All vendors strive to provide them all, but in the end, which is the most important? From what I heard yesterday, simplicity wins that contest.