However, we really needed something to help the load situation anddecided to move ahead with this initiative.We started with the usual “product evaluation” approach and broke itout into four key steps:1. Long list – based on Internet research.2. Short list – based on discussions with analyst firms andminimal interactions with the vendors.3. Proof of concept bake-off for the short list contenders.4. Final assessment and decision.
Step 1: Long List
For the long list of candidates we got most of the players fromGartner’s Magic Quadrant. We found that we could broadlyclassify these into a few categories:1. Hardware and software solution,2. Software solution or3. Hardware solution.
Step 2: Short List
We trimmed down the initial list based on our size and performanceneeds. During this process we used input from Gartner and Forresterand had minimal interaction with the actual vendor sales reps. We didconsider customer references as part of the decision process.So, that led us to two players, as our main contenders for our POCbake-off. Interestingly, it turned out to be a mix of a “proprietaryhardware plus software” player and a “commodity hardware plussoftware” player. Although one vendor appeared to be a startup player,they were given high marks by the analysts and, more importantly theyseemed to be working very closely with Sun and even had commonboard members, making their viability question a little less risky.
Step 3: POC Bake-Off
We put together a set clear and transparent of guidelines for thisprocess to ensure that we had an even playing field. Some of the thingswe laid out were:
We insisted that the POC be done on site.
We would have one of our team members shadow the vendorengineer during the entire process to understand and reportback on what it took.
We also time-bound this to be a one week on-site activity.We knew that the on-site requirement would mean getting a bunch ofapprovals internally to allow for the vendor hardware to be set up in ourdata center, so we initiated that process during step one. By the time we
“We put together a set clear and transparent of guidelines for this process toensure that wehad an even playing field.”