EMC at VMworld 2014

Phew – it’s been a crazy week at VMworld!   Like every year, VMworld in San Francisco is a week so densely packed, it makes the surface of a neutron star feel like Fargo, Dakota. Tens of thousands of customers, partners, competitors – and for me, a great opportunity to see and talk to many long-time friends.

For the last eight years, I’ve been lucky enough to be near the center of this maelstrom  – and I don’t mean only of VMworld, but of the “VMware revolution” more generally. VMworld is a barometer of what’s going on in the world of IT – because server virtualization (and here I mean “kernel mode virtualization”) has become over those years the de-facto way to deploy enterprise applications that need infrastructure resilience. In fact, it’s moved forward beyond server virtualization into the software-defined data center, including Infrastructure as a Service management and orchestration, software-defined networking, software-defined storage and more.

For as long as I’ve been involved, EMC has been a huge partner presence at VMworld, and this year is no different, with an enormous booth filled with thousands of visitors. What IS different is that there are more people than ever thinking about the topic of the EMC Federation and what it means. I want to look at this week through that lens.

Some of our customers prize the “freedom to choose” above all else. They tend to mix and match the technologies from the EMC federation set of companies. “Choice” is at the core of EMC, VMware and Pivotal DNA, and always will be.

When any technology leader starts to “lock-in” its stack, it’s never good for the customer ultimately. Our model also gives each of the EMC federation companies the ability to move quickly, innovate and avoid the biggest threat to any technology leader: failure to disrupt yourself.

At VMworld 2014, there were new announcements that fall into this “open federation coupling” category: First, VMware announces EVO:RAIL, and EMC will have the best hyper-converged appliance built around that technology with additional EMC ingredients. Second, EMC announces Recoverpoint for VMs – a software-defined data availability and protection solution.  This uses open vSphere APIs, but delivers a whole new level of VM-level disaster recovery. And that’s just scratching the surface.

However, I’m also seeing a change in posture amongst many customers I talk to. Many are prioritizing “speed” and “accelerate change” over “let me mix and match indefinitely.” After all, when they select public PaaS or IaaS choices (or SaaS offers) for more rapid movement/agility there is NO “choice” in how those are constructed.

These customers ask us to partner with them as an integrated entity – and be proscriptive. In other words, they are asking for a defined federation position, a defined federation stack. In these cases the EMC federation model offers industry-leading solutions that span Hybrid Cloud IaaS, PaaS – and Big/Fast Data and Business Analytics.

PartnershipFurther, in these cases, the customer partnership model helps them squeeze and reduce their spend on critical legacy infrastructure. Here, EMC and VMware play a big part there by self-disrupting with flash, and SDDC models – while continuing to support the most mission critical workloads. Those customers then pivot that savings to invest in building new “3rd platform” applications that can grow the business. Here, Pivotal plays a leading role, but with critical support from VMware and EMC– after all, PaaS for new 3rd platform applications still runs on infrastructure – but not the same architectural model as before.

Historical examples of “tight federation coupling” abound (too many to list here), but at VMworld 2014, there were new announcements that fall into this category:

  • VMware announces a new vCloud Air offer in beta – that delivers Object capabilities that are critical for public cloud offerings. This is done in partnership with the EMC ViPR team.
  • EMC has updated our EMC Hybrid Cloud 2.5 solution. This is done through the EVP solutions team work – which is staffed by EMC, VMware, and Pivotal employees.  This is THE fastest, THE MOST certain way to deploy an SDDC IaaS and PaaS solution that integrates the three federation companies. It isn’t just converged infrastructure (Vblock and VSPEX), but the complete assemblage of the vRealize management suite, fully integrated with the infrastructure, with the data protection that the applications require.   In addition, it integrates Pivotal Cloud Foundry as the PaaS layer, and does it in a way that also integrates on and off-premise options with vCloud Air.

It’s been a crazy week, and a great week! You can see that we’re continuing both our open partnership model and tight federation partnership model – because, ultimately, it’s best for the customer.

There’s far too much to comment on in one blog post – so if you want more on these topics and others, check out A VMworld 2014 Link Library

About the Author: Chad Sakac

Chad Sakac leads the Pivotal Container Service (PKS) efforts at Pivotal where he brings together the Engineering, Marketing and GTM aspects of the business – with the goal of building the best Enterprise Container Platform together with VMware – part of how Pivotal is transforming the way how software and the future is built. PKS is a joint effort with VMware – and the effort involves bringing the immense resources of two great companies together. This alliance part of Chad’s role extends to all of the elements of how Pivotal works with Dell Technologies (Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream, Boomi) - across the transformational methodologies (Pivotal Labs, Platform Acceleration Labs, Application Transformation and more) and technologies (all of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Pivotal Data) of Pivotal as a whole. Prior to this role, Chad spent 14 years at Dell EMC where he was responsible for several technical customer focusing on customer and partner innovation – most recently as the President and GM of the Converged Platform and Solutions Division (CPSD), and prior to that leading all global Systems Engineering team. Before joining EMC, Chad led the Systems Engineering team at Allocity, Inc. Chad authors one of the top 20 cloud, virtualization and infrastructure blogs, “Virtual Geek” He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.