“The Federation” of EMC, VMware and Pivotal have debuted the first of what it says will be five joint solutions, a bundle designed to make it easier for customers to embrace the software defined data centre concept and deliver IT-as-a-Service.
Over the last year, the three companies have talked about getting closer together in terms of go-to-market, to the point where the latest EMC partner program rejig paves the way for Federation members’ partner programs to be more closely integrated in the future, recognizing and rewarding partners’ achievements, specializations and certifications across all three companies. But this is the first time a go-to-market solution has come out of the troika.
Bharat Badrinath, senior director of global solutions marketing at EMC, said the SDDC solution includes pre-validated hardware and software to make it easier for customers to deliver IT-as-a-Service, making it something like a reference architecture combining VMware’s server and networking virtualization offerings with its management and orchestration software, in tandem with EMC stoage and backup/recovery products as needed by the customer. However, it differs from a pure reference architecture in that the solution also includes pre-written custom software and scripts to ease the path to deployment, and also includes joint support from any or all of the three Federation members.
“We’re working together on engineering the solutions to make it all work seamlessly and make it proven before the customer deploys it,” Badrinath said. “The goal is to simplify packaging, procurement, and implementation so we can come together as one entity for the customer.”
Although the member companies really hope customers choose to deploy the SDDC offering on a VCE Vblock converged architecture system, the solution is agnostic when it comes to compute and networking infrastructure, Badrinath said, in keeping with the Federation’s strategy of making it “better together,” but also allowing member organizations to compete individually, including forging relationships and connections with competitors to their Federation cohorts.
The solution will be available to partners at the top level, Platinum, of the EMC business partner program, and Badrinath said the companies are actively going through the list of EMC Platinum Partners to find good fits. There will not be a specific specialization for this or other Federation solutions, but he said the company is looking for partners with deep EMC and VMware chops, and an interest in deploying the new solution.
“For partners, having the right specializations to deliver the solution, and identifying the right customer mix will help them be very successful with the software-defined data centre,” Badrinath said. “I believe there’s a pretty big market out there.”
The ITaaS space has largely been the domain of large enterprise customers, but Badrinath said the SDDC solution scales well, and can be used by smaller organizations to crate “a well-orchestrated storage management environment” at the low end, making it an opportunity for more midmarket customers where jumping straight to a fully virtualized data centre might yet be too bold a jump.
Over the last year, the SDDC concept has become the core of VMware’s strategy, and increasingly VMware as well. So it’s no coincidence that such an offering is the first to come out of the Federation members. It’s also a good place to start, Badrinath said, because it’s “foundational” to the other four cross-Federation solutions expected to come to market between now and the end of 2015.
“Think of it as the foundational block, over which PaaS, end user computing, business data lakes, and security analytics sit,” Badrinath said, referring to the other four announced pan-Federation offerings.