In yesterday’s blog post, I talked about Qumulo’s innovative Customer Success program aimed at delighting customers by anticipating their needs, rapidly taking care of any problems and providing multiple feedback mechanisms. A key aspect of Qumulo’s approach to customer service is our agile software development methodology. Let me talk about that methodology and why it’s important, and along the way, I’ll explain how it ties into our Customer Success model.

Under the tired old process of product delivery in the storage industry, a storage vendor throws together a bunch of features, slogs through months of qualification and testing, and delivers a new monolithic software release in 12 to 18-month cycles.

From Day One, Qumulo has embraced a different model — an agile development and release methodology that allows us to ship fully tested, production-ready software releases every two weeks. While this is not a new approach for application software development – Amazon, Google, Facebook and other SaaS providers work this way – it is a truly unique approach for enterprise storage infrastructure software and systems.

Qumulo’s guiding principle is that a major innovation like providing real-time analytics for enormous amounts of stored unstructured data will need to evolve over time and what’s needed is a continuous improvement cycle designed to quickly respond to customer feedback. We build our flagship product incrementally in small pieces, after running each developer’s code through intensive automated testing rather than waiting to test the entire connected new code.

In an agile world, the code that underlines the product is constantly changing. The code will be modified as soon as a version of the software is released to the public to yield the next version and so on. Contrast this approach with the old waterfall model. A software release is associated with a branching of the code associated with the version of the software. This version of the code is handed off to the support engineers who will continue to modify this code in response to customer incidents. The product engineers work on a different version (branch) of the code to release the next version of the software and so on.

This model doesn’t work in an agile world — because we maintain a single code-base — one that is continuously evolving. Our perpetual upgrade methodology allows us to respond to customer requirements as their needs change and seamlessly introduce new features as soon as they are ready. Qumulo’s methodology allows us to maintain one stable codebase, always in shippable state that meets enterprise customers’ strict controls over acceptance of new software releases. Customers can simply upgrade when they choose to.

We believe a “pay-as-you-go” model for continuous software innovation, rather than mega-releases every 12 to 18 months, is what organizations want as they tackle unprecedented and changing data storage challenges. We operate at the speed of customers. Combining our agile software methodology with a Customer Success team that is in tune with customer needs helps Qumulo be responsive to customer requirements.

Feedback that customers provide to Qumulo, via the Customer Success team or otherwise, can and is very often incorporated in the current 2-week sprint. The ability to incorporate feedback and introduce it mid-stream into a software development cycle dramatically shortens the time it takes Qumulo to respond to customer needs. Qumulo’s innovative, expansive Customer Success program and our SaaS software delivery model are a potent combination that provides customers with a wonderful experience and ensures their success.

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