EMC recently held its annual Inform conference in Sydney. Keynote speaker, EMC President for Australia and New Zealand, David Webster, sat down with Matthew Sainsbury to discuss the event, market issues and its vendor partnerships.
What was the focus of the Inform keynote?
David Webster (DW): The keynote was focused on the journey to the private cloud, and how organisations are dealing with two big issues in IT right now around taking that step. The first is growth in information – information consumption was up 62 per cent on the prior year, and is projected to grow at 44 per cent compound annual growth over the next 15 years. That’s a massive growth of data, and it’s putting pressure on the CIO or any person managing IT within an organisation to deal with it.
The second key driver when moving to cloud computing, or the private cloud, is the cost of infrastructure and managing it. You can’t keep just adding stuff in the hope that it’s going to solve the data growth problem. So there’s a change needed in the way we do IT. If you go back to the mainframe, we had a certain way of doing IT and a certain model, and that shifted through the PC revolution to PC client/server, network-centric, and all those IT models. Cloud is just another IT model, and in the keynote we talked about that journey and the fact that it’s not a rip-and-replace – it’s not taking what you’ve got and throw it away and start on a journey to the cloud, it’s actually thinking about how you do things today.
As an organisation, you’ve got to become more efficient in what you store, so you’ve got combinations of virtualisation and de-duplication. You’ve got VMware, Cisco and EMC [VCE] coming together to build new levels of integration between their products, manifesting itself in an offering called vBlock. vBlock is a building block for the datacentre of the future. It means someone can go and buy a pre-packaged, pre-integrated, pre-tested, resilient infrastructure that covers compute, storage and network, because they’re the foundational building blocks for IT infrastructures today.
We also talked about the impact that is having on business and channel in Australia. The channel in Australia is moving to a VCE set of technologies because there’s a great business opportunity around those in the Australian marketplace.
Are channel players concerned a pre-packaged solution will take away from the value they can add by building solutions from a number of vendors?
DW: No. There’s a choice. The channel can opt for the pre-packaged vBlock, or they can take the individual components and build it themselves. If they choose to build themselves, we will provide reference architectures and blueprints for them to do that. It really depends on the capability of the channel partner, and where the partner wants to play as a value proposition. Some want to use vBlock to build services on top of, and they don’t want to worry about the physical infrastructure – the hardware, software, storage virtualisation – they want to build up here.
The VCE combination allows them to do both, without needing to fear the three companies. VMware, Cisco and EMC are products and technology companies, not services companies. These products and technologies can enable partners to build a services business on top, whereas other vendors out in the marketplace are building their own stack of everything including services, and that’s not a good play for the channel in the long term.
What’s the roadmap for your market messaging and partner strategies over the next 12 months?
DW: I think the messaging to the market is that it’s shifting from a vision of what’s possible to ‘this is what’s actually happening’. If you look at the set-up for Inform, for example, all the presentations during the day were case studies and real, live examples of stuff people are doing in their journey to the private cloud in Australia. It’s not a technology pitch; it’s not what’s possible – this is what’s going on, this is the benefit people are getting, it’s real, it’s tangible and people are making changes to their IT infrastructures using VCE.
If you’re an end customer, you’ve got a lot of different partners you can work with, and if you’re a partner, you’ve got a lot of opportunities to work with customers who are all moving in this direction. So there’s a very interesting business opportunity for partners at the moment.