Gartner Data Center: Live Blog

Welcome to the VCE Live Blog of the Gartner Data Center Conference

This blog will be co-authored by a number of users at the event.  Blog updates will occur shortly after each attended session however you can follow up to the minute updates by following our designated social guides (@Johnloc@youngp2@JayCuthrell).  If you are interested in coverage of additional sessions, or if you just have a question, feel free to comment below or direct message the above Twitter accounts.

Check back for updates from these sessions and more:

The messages in the Gartner Data Center kickoff keynote were not the vague rhetoric or rehash of information we already knew.  They were clear and they touched on some hard truths.  The one that was most popular on was “More carrot, less stick”.  The gist of this is, IT needs to stop saying no to the business because the business is finding ways around IT.  This is creating hidden cloud environments with overlap and inefficiency that is costing money.  How can IT instead enable the business to enable the business to use cloud smarter?  Opportunities for this abound. Build private and hybrid cloud interfaces that will meet the business flexibility needs.  Establish tested and accepted cloud vendors and help the business choose the best solutions, instead of the anonymous end-user paying for more than they need.  A closing quote from David Cappuccio really drove home a hard truth, “Our job is not to enable the technology, it is o enable the business”.  In Short? It’s all about the carrots.   -Jay Cuthrell

 First a huge thank you to the entire users group.  VCE is very honored to have such a robust and engaged community. The event kicked off with a brief Q&A with CEO Praveen Akkiraju and followed with a panel discussion including CTO of Hyper-Convergence, John Lockyer and VP of the vAchitects, Michael Ficoiello. As always, the value to both VCE and the user group was the transparent and honest interaction.  Most conversations focused on what comes next for the industry and for VCE.  Questions included:

    • What are we seeing in the industry from an IT architecture perspective?
  • What are the implications on management?
  • What is the impact on my teams?
  • What are the use cases for hyper-converged? Where and when should they deploy?

We won’t try to address all these questions here, but I can say you should stay tuned for a post from John Lockyer to cover these themes in more detail.       

From a community perspective, this was my first face to face with the VUG and we were instantly talking about new ways to stay engaged both in person and on social media.  Access to users like these are what allow us to have a clear customer perspective.  As Praveen mentioned during the session, “Customer experience has made VCE who we are”.   If you are a member of the VCE User Group or would like to become one, be sure to follow the group on Twitter #VUG as well as @VCE for the latest on events and opportunities.

-Paul Young

Stay focused on being flexible and diverse.  That seemed to be the big message from today’s (Tuesday’s) keynote.  Studying the results of Gartner’s CIO survey, it was clear that there is not one single solutions or skill that everyone needs to have.  Instead Gartner recommends assessing what your specific needs are depending on your size, industry, customer base, and so on.  The slide below really drove home that over time companies are getting more diverse on their approach to customize solutions to their specific needs.

CIO focus

Having covered the what, the how breaks down into a couple of key areas.  First, make sure you have the right skillsets to get where you want to go.  Before money and resources, CIOs named skills as the biggest hurdle to achieving their goals.  If you don’t have what you need start exploring ways to hire it or, even better, encourage current employees to explore related skills.  One interesting suggestion was if you are interested in crowdsourcing solutions, talk to your 25 and younger employees who grew up on Facebook.  It might be a talent they didn’t even know they had.


The last way is by choosing a partner that is innovating but stable.  You want to work with someone who is driving changes in the industry and will evolve with your needs.  However you also want someone who is going to go the distance.  That ties to another recommendation from Gartner that CIOs should invest in educating themselves in complimentary skills so they can make evaluations like, Will this partner be around in 3-5 years?

Speaking of the CIO, another question found that CIOs are getting more respect from management giving them the ability to make the recommended changes.  However it is up to their teams to enable them by taking as much of the day to day off their plates as possible.

-Paul Young

  • VCE Booth in the Solution Showcase

I visited the Gartner Data Center: Solution Showcase a few times and was able to steal away some of our booth crew for a few minutes.  Not an easy feat as they were constantly busy.  I asked what kind of conversations they were having and was a little surprised at the answers. The attendees here at Gartner are well aware of who VCE is.  What they want to know is how VCE products can work for them.  So when I asked what the talk track for the booth is the answer was “There isn’t one”.   The folks at the booth are mostly vArchitects. That means the conversation start with “What problem are you trying to solve?” and “What does your infrastructure look like now?”  Then they help explain how VCE can get you where you want to be.

Booth1 booth2

-Paul Young

If you are with us at Gartner Data Center I really hope you were able to make it to this session.  Unlike any other session I’ve attended here this was the only one where the customer was the leading speaker the entire time.  CTO John Lockyer gave his introduction and Michael Joffe from CenturyLink took it from there.  He started by setting the stage by bringing up studies, as well as polling the audience, to find while most people are very interested in the cloud, very few are actually there yet.  Of those in the audience there were using public cloud all but one were only using it for test environments.  Similarly many users are still in the process of virtualizing their data centers.


All this means that consolidation of vendors and hardware, though converged solutions like Vblock, help speed the path to virtualization and the private cloud.  ITaaS vendors like CenturyLink are helping these customers like Intercontinental Hotels Group move their datacenters into co-located facilities and provides the services needed to take full advantage of these systems. For details on that engagement take a look at Michael’s blog, the CenturyLink case study, and accompanying video.

It was great to see that the messages resonated with attendees and Michael and John were happy to engage long after the session was over.

Customer Chat

-Paul Young

Gartner took an interesting approach to this shorter session.  Instead of going through the results of the report, they covered how trend have progressed and what could be expected in next year’s report (which you can download here).  First is the fact that this is one of the busiest MQ reports that Gartner has done and with all of the new start-ups getting into the mix it is likely to get busier. That statement was tempered with caution though as Gartner also expects to see many of these VC funded Hyperconverged startups may cease to operate (eg Nimboxx) or be acquired.  Only time will tell.

There was also talk that the current format of the report might be too broad.  With the many companies covered by the broad definition of integrated systems, there is the possibility to separate converged and hyper-converged.  One of the benefits to that approach is to get a clearer picture of where the many new hyper-converged start-up companies stand.  The presenter Andrew Butler, Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, also mentioned that there are many viable options for hyper-converged and that “Any company looking only at the two most talked about Hyper-converged vendors on the Integrated Systems MQ is being myopic”.

-Paul Young

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