Welcome to 2009!
We've been working on this for a long time - and it's just the beginning, with lots of work through 2009. If you didn't see it - here's the PR:
Here was my pre-new year hint at this - and I think impressive (the graphs continue that way through the new year). We've been building this for a while.
I bounce between nerd posts and business posts (my job has a foot planted in both worlds). Read on for a bit of unofficial (but from the heart) questions and my answers.
Q: Why did we do this?
A: Most of all - because our customers asked us to.
- Right now, most customers deploying VMware on shared storage do it on EMC, so we get a lot of requests for "help us lay it out right". We have customers running thousands of server VMs on a single platform, and if you include client virtualization, tens of thousands of VMs.
- Mike D nailed it here. Virtualization is mainstream. Today, the question isn't shouldn't I virtualize, or how do I PtoV (except for how to do it best), but rather "help me virtualize EVERYTHING I can - including these mission-critical applications". EMC has a history of helping our customers with those mission-critical apps - are the 5th largest Microsoft services partner in the world, and spends many, many millions a year on interop and solution testing at every scale.
Q: Come on, really?
A: Really. :-) There was another reason too - we've found that services are important for customers to get the maximum from everything we can do. Put it this way. Can you self-install a CLARiiON or Celerra? Sure. Installing ESX and vCenter? Cake. Can you self-install SQL Server? Absolutely. Would you deploy a mission-critical business application on SQL Server without someone who has that experience? It's analogous here (and BTW why we're the 5th largest Microsoft services partner). Deploying VMware and deploying EMC infrastructure to support it is easy. Doing it the best way possible, leveraging all the experience we can bring to the table, that's another story.
Q: how do we think we're different?
A: EMC is about information infrastructure - not only storing the data, but all the things that surround the information. This part of infrastructure is heavily influenced by, and influences VMware deployments. We think this is materially different than how the server OEMs view the VMware picture - which tends to be about the server part of the picture (IMHO, this while important - is less integral)
- Customers are realizing that you need to build VMware Infrastructure with the same focus of purpose that you do other mission-critical infrastructure. If you're using it like a "mainframe of the 21st century" (ergo all the availability, end-to-end resource model, and efficiency of mainframe; but with all of the flexibility, cost savings of x86-64 hardware), you need to plan your infrastructure (servers, storage, network) with the same focus.
- The only other VACs of our size are the server OEMs (HP, Dell, IBM) and VMware themselves - and while often the customer wants to use the server OEM, often they don't.
- Often, as customers move past the "lets consolidate" phase, their focus is on a couple of things:
- How do we backup it up and recover it? EMC has a core competency here from a skills/experience standpoint as well as a product standpoint - VMware-integrated instant backup/restore of VMs and Datastores using VC-integrated array snapshots, VCB solutions, and unique source-based dedupe technologies as well as target-based for people who want to use their existing backup tools.
- How do we manage it/make it compliant? EMC has a core competency here from a skills/experience standpoint as well as a product standpoint. We have VMware-integrated management tools ranging from storage (ControlCenter), network (Smarts Enhanced Server Manager), servers (Service Configuration manager family), application (Smarts Application Discovery Manager), compliance (IT Compliance Analyzer), change and configuration management (Voyence), and even service desk (Infra). And no customer leverages management tools all from one company - so we have loads of experience integrating these together.
- How do we secure it? RSA, the security division of RSA
- How do we protect from disaster? On this one, we know that EMC replication technologies are roughly around 40% of the current SRM use. As customers look to do DR, there is no better partner than EMC to help them - at every scale, every topology, every configuration.
Q: I'm an EMC and VMware partner - what does this mean to me?
A: Goodness! We know that our partners make the world go around for us, second only to our customers. Our goal here is to help drive adoption of VMware and EMC technologies to customer benefit, plain and simple. If you're an EMC ASN partner who is a VAC (as most are), you should have seen in the Velocity flash that states the most important thing - all of the Commercial Rules of Engagement that apply to everything we do apply to this too. So, for customers who look to their partners - keep doing that! For partners - EMC now will provide even more services and services IP to you for being a VAC/ASN partner, and already have programs to help you grow your EMC and VMware businesses together!
Lots to come in 2009, this is just the first thing of many. Scads of cool product stuff, mounds of neat HOWTO series and virtual appliances, I'm excited just thinking about it...
Here's hoping we, along with our partners, can help YOU get the most out of your VMware infrastructure!
So.... What do you think?