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The Most Successful Joint Venture in I.T. History

by Gary Moore, President and COO, Cisco & Howard Elias, President and COO, EMC Global Enterprise Services

Cisco President Gary Moore and EMC President Howard Elias, co-Chairs of VCE

The Most Successful Joint Venture in I.T. History. That’s how we, as co-Chairs of the VCE Board, think about VCE. We may be a bit biased, but we’re confident many others agree based on the tremendous success of VCE’s Vblock converged infrastructure (CI). In fact, we created the notion of CI with Vblock, and VCE has held the #1 position for as long as the analyst firms have been tracking it.

Given today’s news about EMC and Cisco jointly agreeing to change the structure of VCE going forward, we’d like to reflect back on its success and what is driving this change now.

Rewind to 2007 when Cisco was first entering the server business.  We began discussions around the best ways to deliver to customers the best-of-breed technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware into a single engineered solution that would pretty much be plug-and-play for customers.

Over the course of the following two years, we challenged our teams and ourselves to come up with the best way to commercialize our vision and serve customers.  There were the usual traditional resale and meet-in-the-channel programs, but we felt this could be a much bigger idea.  In the end, we concluded that this was the time to be bold, which led to the initial formation of the JV on October 30, 2009 now known as VCE.  We say now known because the original JV was called Acadia, based on Build Operate Transfer (BOT) services and then a Reference Architecture (RA).  But as any nimble startup does, you pivot your great idea to what customers truly want and value – and in this case it was a product, not BOT services or RA’s.  So VCE and the Vblock were born and the rest is truly history!  Consider these facts about VCE’s Vblock:

  • More than 2,000 deployed to date
  • Six consecutive quarters of greater than 50% year-over-year growth
  • #1 position for integrated infrastructure systems for two years running  
  • IDC study:  VCE customers are able to deploy new services five times faster, reduce downtime by 96%, and lower their annual datacenter costs by 50% with Vblock systems.

So what made this JV so successful? We’d like to think it was our combined market understanding concerning what customers truly wanted, our sincere partnership and enduring friendship.   All of those things are true, but it all starts and ends with the best technologies, combined with a maniacal focus on the customer experience and tremendous execution by talented teams.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved since it’s inception – with a special thanks and congratulations to the current team led by CEO Praveen Akkiraju.

So why the change now?  Because the best time to change and transform is when you’re at the top of your game.  The industry continues to move fast and evolve, and we want VCE to continue to grow and succeed in this environment.  It’s time for VCE to broaden its horizon and help customers in their journey to the Hybrid Cloud.  This has been our focus and we will accelerate our support to our customers.   We also want to signal to our customers that VCE is going to be around for the long haul.  And Cisco’s commitment to VCE continues in the form of a multi-year resale, support and engineering agreement. The partnership remains strong and VCE will be a vibrant channel for Cisco technologies going forward.  In essence, we started with a JV structure that has been wildly successful, so now it’s time to show commitment for the long term in a way that fits the business models of EMC and Cisco well.

It’s been a fun, thrilling and rewarding ride for both of us, but most importantly for our customers, partners and the VCE team. We would like to thank all of them for the confidence they have shown and allowing us to play a meaningful role in changing the industry!

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Three Ways IoT is Impacting the #InternetOfEverything

As a key enabling technology to the Internet of Everything (IoE), the Internet of Things (IoT), is connecting new places and objects. Manufacturing room floors, energy grids and wearable devices are just a few examples of the millions of objects coming online at an unprecedented pace.

These “things” are creating vast and increasing amounts of data and sharing it over the Internet – largely via machine-to-machine connections. It is one of many important technology transitions taking place today that is making the Internet of Everything a reality.

The result is “driving market attention to the business opportunities afforded by connecting physical objects to the Internet,” according to a recent MachNation whitepaper. In fact, MachNation expects IoT to be over more than a $4 trillion industry by 2024!

So, how can today’s proliferation of connected devices and sensors bring organizations closer to capturing a share of the $19 trillion in IoE value at stake over the next decade?

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a new Future of IT podcast episode with Steve Hilton, co-founder and Managing Director at MachNation. We discussed how today’s IoT solutions are impacting the evolution of the Internet of Everything and ultimately, business outcomes. You can listen to the entire podcast recording via iTunes.

Here’s a closer look at three ways the Internet of Things is impacting the Internet of Everything and what it means for your organization:

#1: The Internet of Things is part of the Internet of Everything.

It’s crucial to understand that the Internet of Everything is the coming together of the Internet of Things, mobility, cloud, big data and analytics, and social.

The Internet of Everything gives people, businesses, communities, and countries the resources they need to collect and access data and turn it into valuable insight.

For example, there is an application that I’ve been using for my GPS watch that includes sensors you wear on your body. In real-time, I can upload the data collected to the cloud and I can review where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.

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Reinventing Innovation to Capture the Internet of Everything Opportunity

The Internet of Everything (IoE) is not only disrupting traditional business models, it is also disrupting innovation itself.

While the focus at this week’s 2nd annual Internet of Things World Forum (IOTWF) here in Chicago is on capturing the accelerated opportunity of connected things, we believe there is even greater opportunity with the Internet of Everything: the networked connection of people, processes, data AND things. IoE is already transforming business outcomes, but in order to capture the full potential of its $19 trillion economic opportunity we will need to cultivate new skill sets and ways of thinking by both established organizations and 21st century entrepreneurs.

Innovating with local communities

This, in turn, requires new types of collaborations and investment mechanisms among industry, government and academia to incubate innovative ideas and turn them into commercial, scalable solutions for the betterment of society.

I am very proud of one such exemplary collaboration between the Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) program, led by Mala Anand, SVP of Services Platforms (“Open innovation: Harnessing the ideas, talent and passion of the startup eco-system”), and the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), a startup incubator affiliated with the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and other leading technology organizations in the greater Chicago area. This partnership, announced last April, aims to support the most promising early-stage startups in the region that are focused on game-changing IoE and Smart Cities solutions by bringing the expertise and resources of Cisco and CIE in a co-incubation environment.

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The Internet of…Outcomes?

At Cisco, as you might imagine, we talk a lot about the Internet of Things, and now about the Internet of Everything (IoE).  You can find some great videos and background about IoE here, here and here.   As technology continues to transform our world – from how businesses operate to how we connect with each other to how we control features in our homes – the paradigm is shifting.  And it’s creating exciting opportunities for companies that are prepared to capitalize on them.

It used to be that technology was itself an outcome – people wanted an application or they wanted a robot programmed to do certain things.  It was viewed simply as a tool, and one that was often operated in a siloed business unit within a company.  That world, at least for companies who want to stay competitive and maximize potential, is no more.

Technology is no longer just a tool.  It’s no longer a means-to-an-end nor is it a strategy that operates in isolation.  As our CEO John Chambers recently predicted, “every company is going to be a technology company” (a prediction that you’ll also find echoed in many leading business journals).  To respond to consumer demands and consumption models, we all must embrace technology and harness its potential to transform businesses.

S Hogan Biz Outcome

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Fast IT Top Insights Part 2: Accelerating Innovation through Analytics, Security, and Savings

In our previous blog, we began our exploration of how Fast IT will transform the role of the IT organization — enabling it to drive innovation in unprecedented ways for the business. And to do so amid the rapid disruption of the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy.

Specifically, we examined the role of Fast IT in simplifying complex, cumbersome infrastructure. And how this added agility will open the door to faster provisioning of enterprise apps; a new dimension in value derived from cloud; and a true place for IT as a service orchestrator and trusted partner for the business.

But Fast IT transformation extends further still, enabling expansive and dynamic new capabilities through analytics and security; driving the cultural change that must accompany infrastructure change; and liberating the IT organization through dividends in cost and time savings.

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