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Business outcomes are rapidly becoming the most important driver of technology decisions in the datacenter. Why? Increasingly, the business of IT is no longer exclusively in the hands of CIOs and their reports.
Line of Business (LOB) leaders are often involved in making technology decisions related to business outcomes. In other words, they are interested in how technology makes money for their organization, while IT is often more concerned with the tactical aspects of how IT cost-savings can help them meet user demands while staying within budgetary constraints.
This change parallels the very foundation on why Neuralytix was founded – to help enterprises make money from technology. The recent EMC World 2015 conference clearly demonstrated EMC’s support of this idea: That business outcomes are the key consideration for technology refresh and datacenter build-out projects.
EMC and its Federation companies, including EMC, RSA, Pivotal, VCE (selling converged systems) and VMware, is well-positioned to deliver the technology infrastructure of the future. And, while EMC’s Federation structure is unique in the IT industry, observers get the point: each company has its focus as a key contributor to the infrastructure that supports IT-based business solutions.
Business Solutions Supported by Technology
At the annual EMC World 2015 conference in Las Vegas (May 4 to May 7, 2015), EMC indicated that it clearly understands that earning the respect of business leaders is just as important as attracting interest in the technical community alone. And there are multiple avenues to reach that goal:
- Hybrid Clouds. One way to link traditional IT with new technologies is to build out hybrid clouds – clouds that link on-premise enterprise infrastructure with off-premise cloud capacity. The off-premises cloud could be operated by a hoster or a cloud service provider. And, depending on the topology of the network, it could be a private cloud (operated by the enterprise itself), or a public cloud (operated by a cloud services provider) – or a combination of both public and private IT resources.
- EMC is working with a full spectrum of channel partners to deliver solutions to end-users that drive business value. This message resonates very well with partners because it arms them with the tools to develop and deliver EMC-based solutions to their customers. Examples include channel programs built around the VSPEX and VxRack solutions.
- Focused business solutions. EMC’s Federation of companies is delivering focused solutions to the market. The Federation companies — EMC, VMware, VCE, RSA and Pivotal — provide partners with technologies to create a range of business solutions. These include consolidation through virtualization (VMware), simplicity through standardization (VCE), generating business insights via Big Data and analytics (Pivotal), and supporting enterprise-level security via RSA.
EMC Chooses Federation for Its Own Business Transformation
At EMC World 2015, EMC demonstrated that it is prepared to address the rapid changes within the datacenter through its Federation approach. However, it is unclear how this Federation will evolve over time, impacting its corporate structure, and responding to Wall Street demands for greater flexibility in addressing users’ business requirements. With this structure, companies could be added, or spun off, later on – but it is not possible to predict how, or whether, changes would be made.
Throughout the conference, EMC company executives reinforced the importance of the Federation to achieving EMC’s business goals. Neuralytix believes that EMC’s leaders, including Joe Tucci, EMC’s chairman and CEO, are confident about the efficacy of the Federation approach in achieving the company’s business goals. By way of example, Wall Street should take note of EMC’s ability to transform the variety of data-types in the enterprise – given its embrace of new and open-source technologies that expand the reach of its traditional enterprise IT offerings.
This approach, via the Federation, improves EMC’s ability to address high-growth market segments, such as Cloud and Big Data/Analytics, while avoiding an expensive and complex restructuring of the company. And, importantly, the mechanism of the Federation avoids more expensive and complex means of restructuring to achieve corporate transformation – a path that other large companies have taken. However, it’s quite possible that the Federation itself may evolve, with companies joining or leaving, as EMC’s business changes over time.
Reaching High-Growth Market Segments
The forces of Cloud, Big Data, Social and Mobile are combining to make IT operations in the datacenter very challenging, because performance and quality of service (QoS) must be maintained as a variable model of data usage grows. And because of the connection between business results and technical capabilities, the focus of technology acquisitions is rapidly shifting toward business value.
The increasing momentum behind cloud computing is already causing a number of traditional enterprise workloads to a hybrid cloud operations as a mainstream approach to IT processing for business.
EMC already has a varied and extensive portfolio of storage systems, appliances, Tier 1 data services (thin provisioning, compression, and replication) and automation/management software. Now, EMC’s software is being applied to a wider range of storage products, given the news announcements made at EMC World.
EMC Emphasizes Hybrid Cloud Solutions
Business leaders need to understand technology solutions—or they will not “buy in” to those solutions for funding. IT vendors, including EMC, understand that it’s business outcomes that will drive the need for technology deployments – now, and into the future.
That’s why EMC and VMware have decided to focus on hybrid cloud projects as a major initiative for 2015. Hybrid cloud zeroes in on an area that bring about technology change, technology refresh and, therefore, high revenue growth for companies that provide hybrid cloud solutions.
Key considerations for hybrid cloud are: applications that span enterprise data centers and cloud hosting; rapid adoption of cloud technology; and an enduring requirement for security and availability for the most important forms of enterprise data which must be protected.
EMC is well-positioned to supply enterprise-level technology – including quality of service (QoS) and service level agreements (SLAs) to this fast-growing technology space. That’s an area in which EMC will have an advantage over startup companies supplying technology pieces for hybrid clouds, without bringing the assurance of security and availability that enterprise customers require for major technology transformation projects.
Working with Partners – and the Trust Factor
EMC has been working with the channel for many years. Sometimes, the results of this effort were inconsistent, as the company worked to get partnering into its core DNA. Here is a case where the Federation of EMC companies can be seen to add benefits to the solution and the aggregate channel.
Channel partners have a special duality: as customer and as a route to market. As the channel continues to mature and grow, often through acquisitions, there is more power moving from the vendor to the partners. Recognition of this duality will serve those suppliers that embrace this approach.
EMC is also looking to analytics as a differentiator, leveraging Big Data analytics to gain useful business insights that lead to improved revenues and profitability for channel partners. EMC’s is leveraging its ownership of Pivotal (and the Greenplum database) to apply advanced analytics to its own market and sales efforts. This combination of technology and insights helps EMC to drive revenue by helping customers grow, while addressing the partners’ needs for trust, performance and business agility.
Product Announcements @ EMC World
EMC is expanding the portfolio of products – and introducing new technologies, such as flash and open-source software – that appeal strongly to fast-growth cloud datacenters. At EMC World 2015, EMC made a series of major announcements at EMC World, including the following:
- CoprHD: EMC is releasing an open-source version of its ViPR storage controller; the open-source version is named CoprHD. The company providing this open-source software for customers, partners, developers and other storage vendors to accelerate innovation and drive open and standard APIs. Project CoprHD will be available on GitHub in June 2015 for community-driven development, and EMC will also continue to offer a commercial product for sale, EMC ViPR Controller, offering service, support and training for software-defined infrastructure.
- VMAX: VMAX Gains New Software Capabilities to Build Out Software-Defined Storage Infrastructure. The new VMAX3 platform abstracts storage Tier 1 data services from the underlying hardware – so that local replication remote replication and storage tiers can be applied to mixed platform, including VMAX and systems from third-party vendors.
- VSPEX: EMC enhanced its software defined infrastructure softwarefor consolidating virtual machines (VMs) into highly efficient, rapidly provisioned deployments. By combining it with converged technologies, VSPEX will support rapid deployments, reducing operational costs. EMC showed VSPEX at EMC World as an enabler for rapid build-outs of hybrid cloud deployments.
- XtremIO 4.0. This upgrade to the XtremIO v3.X software supports highly dense all-flash arrays (AFAs). The result is an all-flash-based device with up to 40TB per X-Brick, and up to eight 40TB X-Bricks in a single configuration. EMC has code-named it “the Beast” for its highly dense X-Brick storage, built of NAND semiconductor components. EMC said it plans to double its capacity next year. EMC suggested use-cases include DevOps, real-time analytics, production and non-production database acceleration, SAP landscape consolidation and support for hybrid clouds.
Conclusion: Moving to the Next Generation IT Platforms
Neuralytix believes that IT is at a critical juncture—a time when most IT organizations need to triage their inherited infrastructure. The challenge now is to maintain current operations in the datacenter, while adding new ones that will cope with new demands posed by Cloud Computing, Big Data, Social, Mobile, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This process of sorting and choosing will likely take many years to complete – if, indeed, it can ever said to be completed.
But the opportunity to change the way infrastructure is deployed, with more flexibility and the ability to scale up, or down, is evident – with an abundance of new technologies for scale-out computing, Big Data analytics, open-source software, and software-defined infrastructure and software management.
EMC presented its solutions in the context of this changing IT environment, demonstrating a strong understanding of where computer science stands today – and where it is heading. It emphasized the importance of hybrid clouds, as a way to combine enterprise datacenters with cloud services (public and private).
Having a reservoir of best practices on-hand, as this new world emerges, will be helpful to organizations, as they combine meeting present IT needs with a swarm of new ones. That is what EMC’s Federation of companies, including EMC, VMware, VCE, RSA and Pivotal is all about: providing relevant IT infrastructure, software and services—and doing so both directly—and through its partner ecosystem of system integrators (SIs), distributors and VARs.
Janet Waxman and Ben Woo contributed to this Research Brief.
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