Back in April, VMware/Cisco/EMC participated in a Tech Field Day event where various IT vendors had the opportunity to present current products and future vision to technology bloggers with a variety of backgrounds. VCE Vblock was one of the focus areas of a 2hr session towards the end of the event.
One of the comments heard from several of the bloggers was that Vblock was often positioned directly to the C-level executives, that we didn’t speak to enough of the challenges and concerns of the IT professionals.
Fair enough, when our customers speak we do our best to listen and respond with answers. Below are many of the common areas that we see mentioned by customers (IT staff and C-level executives) when they tell us about their Data Center challenges.
1 – “We’re unsure about the pace of growth of our Data Center virtualization environment.” – Vblock is designed to run a broad mix of virtualized workloads, across multiple tiers. Its balanced design allows IT staff to focus less on the underlying infrastructure and more on the pace of new application deployment. Vblock provides a range of capacity support (between “Min” and “Max”) that allows IT staff the flexibility to start now and grow as application demands increase.
2 – “We’re unsure about how we’re going to integrate our existing IT teams or technology groups.” – As we’ve discussed before, the underlying virtualization technologies are blurring the lines between traditional IT organizations. As these groups transition into new organizational models that can better align technology to new business needs, they are looking for ways to not lose the visibility they’ve had in the past with physical environments. Vblock allows Network administrators to see all the way down to the VM level. Vblock allows Storage administrators to view and provision storage for VMs at granular levels. Vblock allows VM administrators to coordinate provisioning, security policies and network access across all layers of the new virtualized stack. We’re finding that Vblock is helping IT staff to focus their interaction across functionality areas.
3 – “We’re unsure about our existing vendor’s Data Center strategy, product portfolio or partnership models.” – The IT vendor landscape has never been through more changes than in the last 12-18 months. Partnerships, acquisitions, vague press-releases. It can be confusing to customers that rely on a multi-vendor strategy within their Data Center. Almost a year ago, the VCE Coalition signaled to the market an unprecedented level of partnership and vision about next-generation Data Center strategy. Vblock delivered not only an integrated suite of product-solutions, but took it to the next level by wrapping unified sales, services and support for customers or all sizes. This level of coordinate has been a clear signal to the market about the strength and vision of the VCE Coalition.
4 – “We want flexibility in how we manage and orchestrate our Private Cloud environment.” – Unlike some solutions that lock-in customers to a single-vendor or single-model management infrastructure, Vblock offers flexibility to match your Private Cloud needs. Some customers will get started with element managers, others will progress to Unified Infrastructure Management (UIM), while others will leverage next-generation Management and Orchestration frameworks for Private Cloud from one of our ecosystem partners. As the operational models for Private Clouds and Hybrid Clouds rapidly changes, Vblock offers the flexibility to utilize systems that were designed to adapt to the new technology and business needs.
5 – “We want to simplify the support of your Private Cloud environment, while not sacrificing the flexibility of a multi-vendor solution.” – Most support models work one of two ways – (a) Buy all the equipment from a single vendor, who provides all the support. This model usually requires the customer to sacrifice best-in-breed technology as a trade-off for a single support number. (b) Obtain best-in-breed technologies from multiple vendors, but constantly play project-manager when problems arise and vendors point fingers at each other when problems arise. Vblock allows customers to get the best of both models; best-in-breed technologies with a single number to call for complete support of the Vblock. Each Vblock support center is staffed with cross-trained staff from VMware/Cisco/EMC that treat support of a Vblock as a complete solution, not a disconnected set of boxes and software.
Since the Tech Field Day, the VCE Coalition has engaged with over 1000 customers around the world and the feedback has been very clear. You want great technology, flexibility of solution options, clear strategic vision, a unified roadmap and simplified support. We appreciate how aggressively customers have demanded that we improve Vblock, but also how actively they have chosen to partner with the VCE Coalition to adopt Vblock into their IT environments. These partnerships align with our model for the VCE Coalition. Great technology, applied to rapidly changing business and technology models, delivered in a model that continues to provide control and security directly to Private Cloud customers. It’s obviously a new and different way of thinking about your Data Center, but it seems to be gaining traction in the market.
We welcome and encourage your active feedback and participation as we help customers evolve in this rapidly changing marketspace.