Despite rumors that pop up from time to time, Cisco has not taken its Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) product off the market. Cisco is still developing and selling WAAS, and its storage partner EMC sells it too, although there has been a change there. Instead of selling WAAS directly, EMC now sells it through its professional services group.
So, essentially, WAAS becomes another tool in the toolbelt for EMC’s Professional Services. The services folks decide when it fits in an environment and they do the deployment, rather than the customer themselves. According to an EMC spokesman in an email to SearchStorage.com:
In April, EMC modified its go-to-market approach around Cisco WAAS based on customer feedback and to provide differentiated value. EMC was originally selling it without professional services. We received feedback from customers asking us to pair it with professional services so that they could take full advantage of the technology — which they realized had a lot of potential for transforming application delivery, infrastructure through consolidation, etc. Before customers made the investment, they often asked for an assesment to see if it was right for them. Once they purchased it, customers were asking for help implementing it. As a result, we developed a specialized practice within EMC Global Services called EMC Data Center Networking Practice — which is where Cisco WAAS is now offered — and it includes comprehensive professional services.
That same spokesman stressed that it was just a shift in the delivery of the product, rather than a reflection on the product itself. But why are customers ask for help deploying and understanding the use cases for it? There are plenty of products, especially in EMC’s portfolio, that require professional services engagements to get the best results, and companies shift the delivery of products all the time in an effort to boost sales. Still, a shift in delivery method mid-stream, which is directly attributed to customers’ difficulties with understanding and deploying a product, doesn’t sound like good news for WAAS.