Having being involved in a number of EMC product releases over the last couple years, this one may have garnered the most wildly speculative pre-launch chatter from the market. While some of it was reasonably accurate, some of it was pretty significantly off-base. Some of the questions and speculation I heard directly were even more crazy! Some amount of this happens with every launch, of course, that’s part of the game that is played, but it seems like this one was especially noisy. This was a hard embargo to honor, that’s for sure…
So now that the veil has been lifted, let’s have a quick discussion about what it means for the larger converged infrastructure ecosystem.
First, I hope it’s very, clearly, painfully obvious that there’s no part of the VSPEX program that competes with VCE. It’s a very flexible, channel delivered reference architecture, but it’s still a reference architecture. I’ve written before that I think the reference architecture has a place in the discussion around converged infrastructure, but its value is not the same as a Vblock, no matter who is offering it.
Let’s look at it graphically:
With the launch of SPEX, EMC is now able to offer all three options to customers, working with them to figure out which go to market strategy works best. And to be sure, each has it’s own value.
Personally, I’m very excited that VSPEX has arrived. It’s a great program for all the strong EMC channel partners out there, and it fills a gap that EMC had. When we talk with customers about Vblock platforms, we know that there can be any number of reasons why a company isn’t ready or able to purchase the entire infrastructure as a product. Maybe it’s a political alignment issue, maybe it’s a purchasing cycle issue, or maybe there’s an existing capital investment that has to be leveraged. In those cases, we work hand-in-hand with the EMC vSpecialist team to help the customer find a V+C+E solution that makes sense, with great success. However, the lack of any real framework and tested configurations that can be leveraged for those customers makes that design and implementation process harder than it might need to be at times, and VSPEX fills that gap. It also makes it very easy for customers and partners who want a reference architecture offering to do business with EMC.
From what I see in the market, the enterprises that still buy pieces and parts of an infrastructure based on internal bias or legacy process and choose to do the complete integration and testing themselves are a dying breed. Most of the customers we talk to love the idea of the Vblock, and are disappointed if their internal processes don’t allow them to move in that direction. VSPEX gives EMC a less rigid, less integrated offering while still providing a level of assurance to customers. That’s not competitive with VCE, that’s EMC putting the customer first and providing a product strategy that works no matter where that customer is in their journey to convergence.