Since 2008, we’ve been fortunate enough to include some of the world’s greatest technical talent among the ranks of ‘Clouderans’ contributing code to Hadoop and its myriad related projects: from Doug Cutting and Tom White to Todd Lipcon and Josh Wills and many, many more. However, devotion to open source and the vision of modern data architecture are values shared by everyone at Cloudera, not just limited to software engineers.
As we pointed out last week in “What Open Source Leadership Means for Customers,” included among Cloudera’s nearly 80 Apache committer seats and Project Management Committee members are a number of full-time support professionals. These are the people that respond to tickets and answer the phones when our enterprise customers need help. A huge part of Cloudera’s mission to optimize the business value of data for the enterprise relies on a team of dedicated support engineers deployed around the world who provide true 24×7 access to experience and expertise in response to all our customers’ technical needs.
Dedication is Differentiation
Whereas other Hadoop subscriptions will tout access to support in the form of software developers, training instructors, and sales engineers, real success requires continuity of service and deep insight. Technical support is most impactful when the team is comprised of both dedicated support professionals and recognized committers to the open source, not one or the other, and is large enough to build and maintain trust throughout your entire Big Data journey, not on rotation.
By my count, the full-time, dedicated Cloudera Support team is several times larger than its closest Hadoop competitor. This essentially enables customers to realize the full benefits of all the components of an enterprise data hub in development or production. Only truly continuous technical support ensures that your Big Data operations, engineering, and analytics teams can carry out the business-relevant projects for which they were hired without allocating your resources to self-service and bug fixes. To quote our customer, Nokia: “You have good people and lofty business ambitions. Let your team focus on the data and driving outcomes that benefit your customers and the bottom line.”
Removing Complexity from the Experience Curve
Ultimately, Cloudera customers trust in our ability to support them through the Big Data experience curve because our support organization has already tackled the experience curve head-on. To borrow a page from Bruce D. Henderson in The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy, the most successful implementations of enterprise Hadoop rely on dedicated, full-time technical support for four primary reasons: learning, specialization, investment, and scale.
Learning. No one knows the Hadoop ecosystem better or has more experience troubleshooting large-scale deployments in development or production than Cloudera Support. Having resolved more than 20,000 support tickets during the past five years, we have the advantage of familiarity and proficiency with an unmatched breadth and depth of technical issues. These insights inform our Knowledge Base and translate to faster issue resolution and better long-term performance for the mission-critical applications and features you care about.
Specialization. Our focus on building out dedicated technical support resources means that, on average, Cloudera Support can address customer issues at least twice as fast as if our engineers were splitting their time between software development and customer support. The benefit of specialization is not only in the availability of staff to address support tickets as their full-time jobs, but also in the expertise that comes from increased focus. As a result, support engineers who specialize in specific components of an enterprise data hub actually derive deeper insights into both the open source and its bugs and, in turn, commit code to the Apache Software Foundation at a comparably high rate.
Investment. In addition to using years of learning and specialized staffing to overcome the Hadoop experience curve, Cloudera also invests in tools and technology to shorten the curve itself. To expedite support case resolution, we built a Cloudera Support Interface (CSI) based on an internal enterprise data hub deployment, featuring HBase, Impala, and a custom UI. CSI powers a Predictive Support model performing longitudinal analysis on tens of thousands of nodes under subscription to help customers minimize downstream issues before they even occur. In fact, the CSI investment has yielded up to a 35% reduction in time-to-resolution of support tickets.
Scale. Cloudera’s investment in Proactive Support tools, staff, and capabilities pays off throughout the duration of the customer’s enterprise subscription, first by scoping technical resources to specific success criteria as part of the onboarding program. Over time, Proactive Support helps customers avoid common cluster misconfigurations and optimize application utilization according to ongoing comparative analysis. Throughout the process, we also work with the Apache community to build the features and enhancements that are most important to our customers.. While most other Hadoop vendors maintain a very reactionary approach to technical support, Cloudera’s Proactive Support provides the flexibility to scale out resources at every stage of the customer’s Hadoop lifecycle, especially as the market grows.
The Benefits of Predictive and Proactive Support: