To all - welcome to 2015! Just came back from the Leadership meeting (couple days with leaders across the EMC Federation and then days focused on the EMC Information Infrastructure business specifically).
Very inspiring. While I can't divulge everything publicly here's what I will say:
- Customers love the Federation - and you can expect to see more.
- Our hyper-growth portfolio (XtremIO for block use cases, Isilon for scale-out NAS and HDFS) is on FIRE. I need to be careful here - tune into our Q4/2014 EOY financial results to hear the details.
- We are the undisputed leader in Converged Infrastructure with Vblock, and in 2015 our CI portfolio will expand in AMAZING ways (yes, Project Mystic, but several other things that will also blow people's minds).
- SDS (ViPR SRM, ViPR Object, ViPR Controller, ScaleIO) are growing like wildfire - and 2015 will be huge.
- More importantly than any product - the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud as a solution is working. Just like people "pooh-poohed" the idea of Vblock as "it's just an assemblage of parts" (and still sometimes continue to do so, comparing Vblock to reference architectures that are just that) - the fact that we can take the whole VMware SDDC stack, deliver it on top of a Vblock, including all the necessary custom workflows is huge. We are proving it over and over again with customers - delivering in DAYS what normally takes weeks, and taking out huge swaths of the capex and opex cost. If you need to have a Hybrid IaaS and PaaS cloud that can deliver the agility of pure public cloud IaaS and PaaS models - we are (right now at least) one of the only shows in town.
- We had incredible guests - customers (Team Lotus F1, NBCU, _____ that I can't disclose) that shared their views on the federation, EMC - but more importantly what they want more from us. We had Gartner come in (talking about "bi-modal" IT - and their view on EMC, which is quite bullish overall). We had Bill McDermott (SAP CEO) come in - and his stories were fun, funny, and inspirational.
- I hate buzzwords, but sometimes they are accurate. We've been using "Platform 2" and "Platform 3" to denote the chasm between classic enterprise workloads that depend on infrastructure resilience and tend to "scale UP" application-wise vs. those that are designed for total app resilience and "scale out" application-wise. These are the words IDC uses. Gartner uses "mode 1" and "mode 2" to denote these two different models - and is also advocating the world of "bi-modal" IT. This is a philosophy where one accepts that platform 2 workoads (aka "mode 1") can be improved, refined, modified (made into "platform 2.5" perhaps) but simply don't "replatform". You don't win by trying to apply devops principles there. Conversely any new application you can you develop using "mode 2" (aka "platform 3") approaches. There devops operational and organizational models win. Opensource is pervasive. EMC has gone bi-modal. We have all our teams that build "P2"/"mode1" things focused on that domain. We have all our teams that build "P3"/"mode 2" things focused on that domain. We have no delusions and will avoid the temptations to build "flying boats" by kidding ourselves about what is what. Both worlds are critically important. In fact, for the forseeable future, the amount of customer investment to make the world of Platform 2/mode 1 better (P2.5) DWARFS the investment in platform 3. But - it's a symbiotic thing. savings (both Capex and Opex) in the world of platform 2/mode 1 is used to invest in platform 3/mode 2.
I left the week energized and pumped!
Spirit/Mojo/Momentum is a very real thing (see 2nd half of the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Green Bay Packers as an example). The wind is at our backs.
That's not just "backslapping". I did a post right at the beginning of the year, and I'll share the results here (always will operate in the spirit of openness). Fascinating. More than 1500 respondents from the field, our partners, our customers. There are "confidence curves" for our products, and solutions (today, roadmap, product teams, ecosystem) - example of XtremIO below.
You can see where confidence is highest and lowest - but across the board, our employees/partners/customers are bullish. Will we have challenges? Absolutely. Do we need to keep shifting and re-balancing to adapt to the changing market? YUP. But our portfolio of products and solutions has NEVER been better. Oh - and expect a post on XtremIO 4.0 shortly :-)
VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) is right around the corner (Feb 3-5, register here). Like every year, I will open the EMC Bootcamp with stuff that WILL. BLOW. YOUR. MINDS. I will cover the roadmap for 2015, and into 2016. If you're a partner - update your NDA - and SIGN UP!!!!!
Now, on to a "this I believe" update.
Back 3 years ago, when I moved into the leader of the Presales team, I did a post called "This I believe"* (read it here).
*"This I believe" is a great NPR radio bit where people share their deepest personal beliefs - I would recommend it, get the podcast here.
It laid out my mental framework for looking at the world at large, and Presales specifically for the new people who were part of my extended work family - entitled the "EMC Presales Manifesto"*.
*Two quick notes:
- I mentally prefer "Systems Engineer" or "Solution Architect" to "Presales" - as both describe the role better. Presales doesn't capture the fact that great SEs are there up front in solution architecture, solution design, through the acquisition process, and frankly forever - we are the trusted advisor. There ain't anything "pre" about it :-) Solution architect was taken - at EMC it's a very important services role that is used up front for solutions that have a heavy services component in delivery.
- "Manifesto" sounds so grandiose, so pompous - and is often associated with things that. well. turn out badly :-) Here I just mean "a set of principles that I hold dear".
There's been some chatter on Twitter - and yes, my LinkedIn profile has been updated. I got promoted last week - am now a President here at EMC. It's always a little "trite" when people are TOO self-effacing - so I'll tell you, I'm honored (yes), humbled (yes), but also massively PUMPED (yes!) My job is fundamentally the same - but I think it's a reflection of the things I do that aren't as visible as my blog, or the gag videos :-) I'm very lucky to do what SEs everywhere do - but I do it in aggregate, and I do it with the full force of EMC behind me: SEs everywhere are the voice of the customer inward to engineering/solutions/strategy, and also the voice of engineering/solutions/strategy outwards to the customer.
I'm proud of the small part I've played in EMC's big moves over the last few years, from acquisitions, to strategy. I feel like we are incredibly well placed to be the undisputed leader for the software-defined enterprise across the federation (VMware, Pivotal, EMC, RSA, IIG), and I think that EMC can be the undisputed leader for infrastructure and converged infrastructure for "platform 2/mode 1" (infrastructure resilient scale-up workloads) and "platform 3/mode 2" (app-resilient scale-out workloads)
So what has changed in my Presales Manifesto looking back on 3 years? NOTHING.
What I'd like to add are the following things I've learnt from leading a big organization over the last 3 years (~4000 people - yikes!):
- Culture and values are the most important things to emanate as a leader. Those two things create lasting value, and echo and self-reinforce in the team. Is it perfect? No. But at scale - it's the only way to have an impact. People look all around them (above/below/beside) for cues on what to do.
- Communications should be open, honest, and transparent. When? Always. Are there times there are things you can't disclose? Sure. Be transparent that you cannot disclose. Be transparent on what you can disclose.
- People and talent are ALL that matter. We have a ton of great people at EMC. We must always strive to improve talent, increase the "genetic diversity" of the "gene pool" - but here it's about "thought diversity". I think that across EMC - some places more than others - this is something we must strive to continue to improve.
- It sounds like baloney - but it is true - the "org pyramid" is always drawn upside down. People at the FRONT-LINE have the most impact, and are the most important. Up each part of an org, the duty is to support (in every way) the people who "report" to you. Sometimes supporting the team means making hard decisions - but if you're guided by the customer and the people, it can be a true north - even through those hard times/decisions.
Thank you to all those who support me - and let's have a great 2015 together!