Force10: My Investment

After a flurry of activity on my blog about my Force10 issues and a few phone calls, I think I should post a quick update. I was contacted by my account manager and asked if I could give him some time to discuss my problems. I gladly gave him the time this morning and I think there are some good things that can come from it, but first I’d like to clear the air a bit. I wrote that post about my issues not expecting many people to see it, I don’t exactly run a high traffic blog. The reason I wrote it is that there is a lot of industry talk of Force10 since the acquisition and I’m sure a lot of engineers are getting pressure to take a look at them. As an engineer myself, I take peer reviews more seriously than any industry analyst, so I put my issues into a post and let it go. One of my biggest complaints with Force10, aside from the technical issues, is the lack of community. I have no idea who is running it, what they’re doing with it, how they’ve overcome issues, or even how to get in contact with them. This is something I stressed with my AM heavily on the phone this morning. Cisco and Juniper have had years to build out their communities organically. The support you can get from IRC and Twitter alone rivals any TAC out there. Social media is here to stay and it’s changing the industry. 5 years ago I would never have had the power to cause a disruption like I did (which I never intended to do). Force10 doesn’t seem to have or welcome anything like this. I think the small, agile company they were would’ve been able to react to this and get something started, but now that they’re being Dell-ified my hopes are diminishing.

If nothing else comes out of my post and the conversations (which I’m sure will continue), my hope is that they embrace the changing environments and become a true contender. I own the equipment and that’s not changing anytime soon; no one has to budget to drop a network overnight. I want that equipment to be the best it can be and to compete at the same level as the leaders. I’m heavily invested in them succeeding, but in this new world of blogs, tweets, and more, that requires them to listen to what I and other engineers have to say.

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