Sidebar – know I’ve been quiet for a while on the blog… have been CRAZY busy between the EMC SE role, the VCE role, and all the Dell/EMC integration stuff in flight. I’ve got about 5 solid blogs half-written, but am behind. My apologies, dear reader! Regardless – THANK YOU for all who voted for Virtual Geek on the annual top blog at vSphere-Land. I’m VERY proud to be in this list, and even though I’m dropping in ranking, it’s great to be beaten by so many great blogs. I would strongly encourage anyone to read as many of them as you can. THANKS FOR READING!
… back to regularly scheduled programming :-)
Ah – you’ve got to love being a public figure and needing to pick your words carefully…
I had a quick sidebar on twitter with Chris Mellor (from the Register) last week– and he quickly did a post with an eyeball-catching headline: “EMC will hawk Dell’s Nutanix-powered XC”.
This (to me) is click-bait (and I’m making it worse by linking to it :-) I respect Chris, and get that he is in the media, so eyeballs are important. But: a) he got it wrong; b) it is not news – or exclusive.
In fact, I said to him what I said publicly during an open panel at a partner conference two weeks ago when asked. I think it is important to correct the record where the article might leave the wrong impression and clarify some of the points that are important.
Let’s deconstruct what I said – and for fun, generate your OWN headline based on what I said (consistently – to Chris, and on the panel).
- Question: Will the OEM relationship continue post close? Answer is simple = I believe it will. Of course, the deal hasn’t closed. So why do I say that so firmly? The reasons are simple and flow logically. Dell has a built a partnership with Nutanix over the last few years (technically, this is an OEM, not a resell). That OEM partnership has resulted in Dell XC. Dell XC is a Dell product, with Dell hardware support, and uses Nutanix IP as a critical part of the product. Dell XC has been successful, and has happy customers. My comment at the ThinkAhead panel and to Chris was that it would be the wrong move to terminate that OEM relationship. Why? Those customers are happy and they picked Dell XC for a reason. Shutting down the Dell XC product by not renewing the OEM relationship for a petty reason hurts the customer and doesn’t put them first. As I said on the panel: “rule #1 of business = don’t punch your customers in the face”. Continuing the OEM isn’t a validation of Nutanix’s technology, but a validation that that customers come first for us.
- VxRail and VxRack are COOKING. In four months since we started Selling VxRail over 360 customers in 59 courtiers bought more than 2,000 VxRail nodes over the competition. In mere months, those customers have already put us on the map as the runner up leader in the HCIA category, soon to close on number one.
- How would we position VxRail and XC post-close? The answer is simple. If you’re a customer who has standardized on vSphere, VxRail is the HCIA for you – period. Why? Simple:
- VxRail is the only HCI Appliance which is an extension of their standard – vSphere.
- VxRail is the only HCI Appliance that is jointly engineered with VMware.
- VxRail is the only HCI Appliance that has single support with VMware with finger pointing an impossibility (seriously, does any customer want to get in the middle of a multi-vendor fight when they need support?)
- VxRail is the highest performing vSphere HCI Appliance.
- VxRail is the most cost effective vSphere HCI Appliance.
- VxRail is the only vSphere HCI Appliance that is optimized for all-flash (when clearly we’ve crossed the inversion point where all-flash configurations are the winner).
- … And if they like Data Domain, VxRail is the only vSphere HCI Appliance that integrates with the leading backup storage = Data Domain and the DPS suite for VMware.
Furthermore – I want to add a little more detail on the joint engineering point.
It is a fact that the engineering of VxRail is done as a single team with VMware and EMC employees. It means that we work to make the roadmaps be ONE. It means we support it as ONE. It means as VMware makes vSphere and VSAN stronger, those strengths immediately flow into VxRail. VxRail takes a customers investments and standardization on vSphere to the next level.
It’s a strength of VxRail that for vSphere customers, VxRail is in effect “powered by VSAN”, not dissimilar to “Intel Inside”. While of course – the strength of any HCI offer is the full package, with the key emphasis being on the management and orchestration stack that makes it all come together and be simple, the SDS layer is a critical piece. Has anyone else noticed how VSAN is moving rapidly forward, with very positive customer reaction, adoption and revenues growth? With VSAN 6.2 representing the 4th major generation of VSAN, has crossed a critical threshold in maturity, and data services, now able to support the majority of vSphere workloads? I sure have… and so have THOUSANDS of other customers.
Furthermore, expect that post close, we would be leveraging the full Dell supply chain and great PowerEdge platform in both VxRail and VxRack (FLEX, SDDC or Neutrino). It’s not a coincidence that many customers that like Nutanix have picked Dell XC – and it’s not a coincidence that the Dell XC system often are the first ones to leverage the latest hardware and Intel roadmap, sometimes faster than Nutanix’s own appliances and their supply chain.
Look – will some customers not want vSphere? You bet! The customer set that actively don’t want vSphere may be the minority of the market sure, but customers want choice.
For customers who use Hyper-V, or KVM (and even a mix of some vSphere but who are focused on heterogeneity) I believe we will have two offers post close.
For customers who are (or know they will be) operating at large web-scale, we would recommend VxRack FLEX (which minimally starts with 3 nodes, but scales to 1000’s, and always includes management and ToR networking elements in the system design). VxRack FLEX supports bare-metal configurations and can therefore support a ton of heterogeneous use cases.
For customers who wanted to start small in appliance form and be heterogeneous, and really like the Nutanix IP, I suspect the answer will be XC.
This is HCI portfolio is simple, I can put it in 4 bullets:
- If vSphere is your standard = VxRail/VxRack SDDC is the choice for you.
- If you have not standardized on vSphere + you want scale out REALLY big = VxRack FLEX. EMC ScaleIO is a game changer here in its extreme scaling, and completely open OS, hypervisor, and container engine support.
- If you have not standardized on vSphere + you want to start really small, and scale out moderately = XC.
- If you want an HCI that is COMPLETELY optimized for Cloud Native Apps, Pivotal Cloud Foundry and container-oriented abstraction models = VxRack Neutrino, particularly as VMware Photon Platform support is added in 2017.
Judging on where we are with VxRack and in particular where we are with VxRail I think Dell Technologies can have multi-billion dollar HCI business in a couple of years and will be the undisputed HCI leader, like we are in the CI business today.
Yes I’m an optimist and a dreamer, and of course – only results speak. Results are up to execution, delighting customers, and having the strongest offers and roadmap. Yes, that will require a portfolio, and choices for customers. Stay tuned for more and more exciting news from us.
With those as the facts, and indeed what we’ve been saying consistently I suggest the accurate headline should have been something more akin to: “EMC hawks the best portfolio of CI/HCI on the market.”