If Mission Critical Center (MCC) sounds like a really important thing you should know about, that’s because it probably is. To set the stage for why you should know about it, it will help if you imagine the following scenarios.
You purchase a MacBook Pro (sorry PC lovers), and you are understandably beyond excited to play with your new shiny toy. In order to best utilize your MacBook Pro though, there are additional Apple accessories you need to install. First, you buy software (iTunes and iPhoto) that’s a simple download away from making it easy to manage your photos and purchase/organize your music. Second, you buy an iPhone, so you can access all your messages, photos, and music on any device. Unfortunately, you aren’t getting the information you wanted quite as fast as you were expecting, so you buy an iWatch, too. (Editor’s note: Like you, his co-workers also harshly judged Brad for this purchase.) Next, at the rate you are downloading music and taking pictures of your dog and car, you realize storage is going to be an issue. You buy storage in iCloud for some of your archival and duplicate files. At this point, you have invested not just in the initial hardware cost of the MacBook Pro, but in all the accessories that help you maximize that hardware’s potential. It only makes sense to protect everything. So finally, you buy additional hardware (Apple cases) to protect your MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iWatch, and you buy software and support (Apple Care) to go along with it. You take a deep breath and rest easy knowing all this hardware and software integrates well together, and it won’t bring you any unneeded stress.
As a customer that sounds perfect, right? As an Apple consumer I’d say it’s accurate too.
To continue to build anticipation for what MCC does, now imagine the next scenario…
You purchase a MacBook Pro and all the accessories (iWatch, iPhone, Apple Care, iCloud, etc) that go along with it so that your software and hardware will integrate well together. Unfortunately in this scenario though, Apple isn’t the Apple the world has come to know and love (Editor’s Note: Insert obligatory Microsoft joke here). Instead of easy setups, installs, and configurations under the Apple product portfolio, it takes you a full day to download and install iPhoto and iTunes, days to sync your MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iWatch together, a week to setup your protective case and Apple Care, and multiple weeks to setup your iCloud. You take a deep breath to prevent you from throwing your computer against a wall.
It’s hard to even imagine that scenario considering Apple has made their brand, technology, and buying model off the fact that switching to a competitor would cost the customer time, money, and resources.
With that setup, let’s talk about what MCC is all about.
What is Mission Critical Center (MCC):
At MCC, our vision is that all EMC products in the portfolio integrate so well that customers are so delighted that they wouldn’t consider switching to anything else. Our purpose is to ensure the first time EMC products come together isn’t at a customer site. We evaluate how well products in the EMC portfolio work together, so that EMC engineering can continuously improve the customer experience.
EMC needs to know how long it takes our customers to upgrade hardware or software. How long does it take to zone XtremIO, VMAX, VPLEX, Data Domain, and hosts? How complex is it to setup Data Domain and NetWorker together? How challenging is it to configure CloudArray and VMAX? Those are just a small percentage of the dozens of scenarios/activities that customers experience on a daily basis.
To help EMC know more about our customer’s issues before they happen, MCC acts as an external customer. In our infrastructure, we abstract typical customer environments and validate products in those configurations. We run real enterprise applications across three data centers that are subject to highly accelerated stress and fault injections. We follow accepted IT business practices for capacity planning, change control and maintenance windows. MCC has round the clock monitoring, is globally managed, and is escalated through EMC’s Customer Support. The datacenters currently host four enterprise applications with 1.5PB of data serving more than 1000 simulated users. Like any enterprise, the environment changes continuously: growing through incremental hardware and software additions, updating through tech refreshes and NDUs, and being replicated through migrations and restores.
As that first “external customer”, we report that back to product owners to help make a better integrated EMC. From out-of-box experience to daily management to upgrade to the support experience, MCC strives to represent what it is really like for our customers. Our biggest challenge is just to continue to expand the environment to cover more EMC products. To get an idea of the hardware, software, and configurations MCC validates today see below at our architecture:
In the near future we plan to add ProtectPoint, Data Protection Advisor, NetWorker, OpenStack and EMC Cloud Array.
At Mission Critical Center (MCC) we are excited to discover what we know that we don’t know to help drive us to our vision where products in the EMC portfolio work and integrate so well together that delighted customers can’t imagine switching to anything else.
Would you like to learn more about MCC or offer some suggestions? Please contact us!
– Brad Linch @brad_linch