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Addressing Customer Requirements and Solving Challenges: An SE’s Perspective on Storage

September 8, 2020

In this blog post we sat down with Tintri senior sales engineer, Gustavo Ceballos, to get his perspective on storage and his approach for arriving at the solution that best addresses his customers’ needs and solves their biggest problems.

Hi Gus, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure, my name is Gustavo (Gus) Ceballos. I have been a sales engineer (SE) for almost a decade, architecting and delivering storage solutions to meet my customers’ requirements and solve their biggest challenges. Before becoming an SE, I used to work for a large medical technology company as a systems administrator. I was initially in charge of keeping servers up to date, and heavily involved with physical-to-virtual server migrations before moving on to a storage administrator role.

That’s an interesting move from system administration to working for a vendor. Do you still apply some of the knowledge gained through this experience to your current job as an SE?

Of course. By early 2010, I knew that virtualization was going to take off and that I needed to learn more about it and become an expert. In my role as a systems administrator, I also realized that a customer’s storage environment was a foundation that needed to be rock solid in order to support the ever-changing virtualization landscape. As I transitioned from being a systems/storage administrator to a sales engineer, I wanted to make sure that I explained the importance of storage to customers that I worked with. Having specialized in storage technology, I always want to provide my customers with a storage solution that is virtualization-friendly and able to adapt to changing data center needs. As virtualization became more popular, many other changes were being introduced in the data center, including: performance-driven workloads, virtualization integration, replication to the cloud, and the need for expandable, flexible storage solutions. When my AE and I provide our customers with a storage solution that can support those core requirements, I know they will be able to use that solution for years to come and be happy with the outcome. Knowing that I’m able to provide customers with solutions that are easy – easy to manage, easy to expand, easy to upgrade, and can also easily migrate data to and from other systems – is what keeps me excited and going every single day.

Can you describe your approach to solving customers’ storage challenges?

One of the most important pieces is understanding the requirements. I currently have a long list of customers and pride myself on understanding their requirements. It is not just about working with them in order to position the right technology to meet their current needs. It’s also about being able to understand their pain points and how to help solve them.

Secondly, what perspective do I bring to solving my customers’ storage challenges?

I have had the privilege of working with organizations of different sizes –  from small-to-medium businesses, to educational institutions to large enterprises. Every company has a number of unique challenges that it is trying to address. Thankfully, I have a portfolio of Intelligent Infrastructure solutions at my disposal that meets the toughest requirements of my customers and prospects without any of the complexity that legacy storage vendors have historically brought to market.

  • Our Tintri IntelliFlash Platform:

When customers are looking to consolidate their block and file workloads onto a single, easy-to-manage solution, IntelliFlash is the perfect choice. We have thousands of customers utilizing this technology in their data centers and remote locations. This feature-rich platform enables customers to run virtualized server and desktop workloads, physical server workloads, and native multiprotocol file workloads.

  • Our Tintri VMstore Platform:

When customers need a solution that is optimized for a virtualized environment or require deep insights into their virtualized or non-virtualized SQL databases, VMstore is the clear choice. It provides customers with live analytics and up to three years of historical analytics, down to the VM and vDisk level, which is something that NO other storage technology is able to do. In fact, VMstore has been able to do this since it first came to market. Thousands of large enterprise customers are running VMStore and many have dedicated systems for VMware, Hyper-V and/or VDI in both VMware and Citrix environments. VMstore also provides autonomous operations and leverages AI- and ML-based analytics to simplify administration and reduce operating expenses.

At first it may seem as though Tintri offers two competing storage platforms. Is it difficult to decide which one works best for our customers?

The reality is that we have two great storage solutions, but each one has a unique set of features that makes it a viable solution, depending on the customer’s needs and objectives.

Many Tintri customers still use FC connectivity or run applications that “require” iSCSI connectivity and will continue to use these technologies for the foreseeable future. Others still have systems running IBM AIX OS. We also have customers that want the flexibility to run many protocols at the same time without having to pay extra for software licensing – those are customers are perfect for our IntelliFlash solution.

Is it possible for enterprises to utilize both VMstore and IntelliFlash technologies in their data centers?

Absolutely! Many VMstore customers want to consolidate their file data onto a single storage platform and need a solution that can provide file services functionality natively instead of using a Windows file server. Our latest IntelliFlash 3.11 OS release meets those requirements, and many customers have already begun deploying this technology into their environment. When it comes to consolidating your file workloads – whether it’s a few terabytes or multiple petabytes – IntelliFlash can handle it.

On the other hand, some of our IntelliFlash customers have made the decision to virtualize 100% of their servers and connect them to their IntelliFlash system via NFS.  Those customers are extremely happy with that flexibility but are still looking for ways to simplify their environment by investing in a solution that was built from the ground up with virtualization in mind. Tintri VMstore is that solution!

Some final thoughts?

I view myself as not just a technologist and sales engineer; I also work hard to be a trusted advisor. Therefore, I want to make sure that I’m adding value to my customers’ environments by providing them with a solution that they highly value. Tintri’s Intelligent Infrastructure portfolio is able to meet the storage needs and objectives of almost every customer. Whether the environment is fully virtualized or not, Tintri has a product in its portfolio that will greatly simplify the management of your storage infrastructure and reduce your operating costs. Some of our customers have been utilizing our technologies for more than a decade and keep coming back for more.

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