What A Difference One Year Makes

A year ago, a bunch of us at EMC, VMware and Cisco were in the early days of talking publicly about our shared vision of private clouds, and were still working out a lot of architectural and process issues. Meanwhile, EMC’s IT department was merely another customer in the eyes of… well, all three of our companies.

Two things changed that. We had new leadership in EMC IT committed to making our organization “first and best” using our products and services. And we formed a new relationship among the three companies, announced last fall as the Virtual Compute Environment (VCE) Coalition. Both had as a core tenet a commitment to collaboration on many levels.

For EMC IT and our three companies, it changed things to the benefit of all involved. All three of us vendors now have a global IT organization ready, willing and able to push new products to their limits at enterprise scale, and provide valuable insights — both positive and negative. EMC IT is gradually gaining access to technologies at earlier stages in their lifecycle, getting fast turnaround on fixes to critical problems found in early code, and gaining more of a “seat at the table” in product direction.

For example, in our VDI pilot, EMC IT found a problem with ThinPrint printers not being connected for certain VMware View client connection scenarios. That’s getting fixed in a “dot” release coming in the near future. When EMC IT found a bug that was a real show-stopper for us, the initial response from VMware was “thanks very much, that will get fixed in a future release.” But EMC IT pressed its case, explaining how critical it was. VMware provided a hotfix within a few days.

Actually, that was a pretty big move. Hotfixes are, by their very nature, a risky proposition. How risky? Just ask Microsoft how easy a time it’s had merging collections of sometimes conflicting hotfixes into a coherent Windows service pack that doesn’t break users’ desktops when unleashed upon the world. But VMware was willing to take that risk because of its new relationship with EMC IT — and the fact that EMC IT was willing to put its own skin in the game testing out the fix, and then pushing the test envelope further.

What a difference a year — and strong leadership — can make.

About the Author: David Freund