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Black Friday & Cyber Monday at Pure Storage: Taking Predictive Support to the Next Level

Some of the largest ecommerce operations in the world run on Pure Storage. As such, our Pure1 Support team have always taken the Black Friday & Cyber Monday weekend as an opportunity to continuously improve our predictive and proactive support strategy – going above and beyond to help our customers survive what is always one of the toughest weekends in the digital era. Let’s take a quick look “behind the scenes” at what it’s like to be a Pure Storage retail customer during the lead-up to and during Black Friday!

People + Technology to Deliver Predictive Support

Our philosophy at Pure Storage is simple – it’s better to predict and proactively solve problems before they start, and we do this by combining technology (our Pure1 Global Insight) and best-in-class people. You can read about Pure1 Support and last week’s introduction of Pure1 Global Insight, and there will be a deeper-dive blog coming on it later this week as well. We provide an astonishing level of support as regular course of business – but for retail customers, Black Friday is an unprecedented event where the eyes (and credit cards) of the world are trained on our customers…so we asked ourselves, how could we work even harder to ensure that Pure Storage customers survived and thrived (delivering amazing customer experiences) during this critical weekend?

Enter Predictive Support: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Edition

Let’s give you a bit of insight into what the month before and the weekend of Black Friday looked like as a Pure Storage customer:

1: Identify. We first contacted our retail customers and worked with them to identify the critical arrays that they depended on for Black Friday, and to understand what levels of increased load they were expecting for the season.

2: Analyze & Predict. On a regular basis, Pure1 Global Insight performs proactive and predictive analysis on all Pure Storage arrays to identify potential issues in relation to capacity, performance, and more. Above and beyond this analysis, for Black Friday, we combined our historical analysis of last year’s Black Friday and the customer’s projection for this year’s load into the analysis on critical arrays to identify potential shortfalls in capacity or performance.

3: Proactive Resolution: We then worked with customers to resolve any issues found during the analysis via non-disruptive software upgrades, as well as helped customers expand capacity and performance as necessary to prepare for the big weekend.

4: Round-the-Clock Monitoring: We layered-in an even more aggressive monitoring strategy for the weekend. Extra support engineers were staffed and we created a real-time view of the Black Friday arrays, enabling us to keep customer success right at our fingertips. Here’s what the “big board” in our global support center looked like over the weekend:

Pure1

5: Constant, Proactive Communication: Finally, customers received daily email summaries of their arrays during this crit
ical period, and of course immediate contact if anything out-of-the-ordinary was observed in real-time.

Making Black Friday Just Another Day?

Every year the Black Friday weekend is an opportunity for the Pure Storage support team to push their thinking, and get even more aggressive about predictive, proactive support. But part of what made this exercise so special – is that we didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary here – we just took our normal processes for predictive analytics, constant monitoring, and proactive support that every Pure Storage customer is protected by every day, and executed them with even more focus for Black Friday.

So why stop at retail? Every customer has busy periods and moments in their typical production cycle where mission-critical applications are even-more mission-critical. What if we could take these learnings and expand them for customers in every vertical, during the moments when a little extra focused support would make the most difference? What if we could continue to automate these processes so that support got more and more proactive every day? Stay tuned!

And two footnotes:

1 – Now that Black Friday & Cyber Monday are over – we are happy to report that no Pure Storage customer experienced downtime over the weekend that impacted their ecommerce operations – even during another record-setting Black Friday.

2 – If you are a support engineer and want to help us re-think the proactive support experience check out our jobs page. Pure Storage is a place where support matters.