Dealing with a critical situation, or “crit sit” is a nightmare for customers and IT vendors alike. A failed piece of equipment or software application, whether for technical or human reasons, generates a considerable amount of disruption, discord and finger pointing. Fortunately, an increasing number of our customers are either replacing their “legacy” (read: other vendor's) networks with our gear or expanding their Brocade deployments because crit sits are a rarity at Brocade.
My good friends in Brocade engineering have done wonders over the years by designing quality and reliability into every product we sell. In recent times, as networks have grown to a size and level of complexity we would have considered unthinkable a few years ago, the boffins in R&D have surpassed themselves by developing an array of “RAS” capabilities that are unmatched in the industry. RAS stands for Reliability, Availability and Serviceability. It's a term used to describe the way companies diagnose, troubleshoot and fix problems when they occur in their products - or preferably before they occur. Brocade RAS shows up in the form of software tools that enable you to identify -- with pinpoint accuracy -- the root cause of problems affecting the performance of the network. The level of sophistication designed into these tools is the IT equivalent of being able to locate the group of microscopic human cells causing that nagging back pain you've had for the past few days, being able to zap the cells, and then getting back to normal....get it, "back" to normal? OK – so I'm corny and the example is a bit of stretch – but you understand the analogy.
Being a networking company, Brocade and our gear touch almost every other element of IT at a customer site. We're in the data path of each piece of digital information traversing the network, shaking hands with almost every application, PC, printer, server, storage device, gateway and firewall out there. You name it, we interface with it. As a result it is not uncommon for the network to be found “guilty until proven innocent” when IT systems break or even just slow down. Hence the need for networking companies like us to have super smart tools buried deep in the operating system layer of our products - tools that can quickly and efficiently spot the offending device, application or cable, deal with it (a.k.a. shut it down, open up an alternative path, or fix it) and get everything up and running as quickly as possible. When that process fails, crit sits occur.
Crit sits are complex and often emotionally charged situations. While usually everyone is focused on the right thing i.e. helping each other to fix the problem, sometimes things can become fraught as patience wears thin, the clock is ticking and the CEO can't get access to email. I am proud to say that Brocade has developed not only the tools but the right attitude in dealing with these situations. By focusing on the best outcome for the customer and using the tools we have developed to spot and fix business-affecting issues, we are able to resuscitate the heart and lungs of the company - its network. From a sales perspective, there’s no better claim to make.