Friday, October 22, 2010

vBlock - Are customers buying?

Yes.  In fact, we just got signed documents for an order on one today.  This is a powerful solution and now with UIM v.2, the promise to our customers to be able to leverage this "private cloud" as an offering where they can provide compute, network and storage as a service to their internal customers is fast-becoming a reality.

The VCE initiative (VMware, Cisco, EMC) is the real deal and has caused quite a stir in the market.  The battle lines are being drawn.  Various solution "stacks" are being created.  You see HP trying to create their stack with 3Com, 3Par, etc. (note: HP likes to buy companies that have the number "3" in them - is Level 3 next? :), you see Oracle trying to acquire their stack with Sun servers and storage, and you have IBM creating a stack of sorts by playing nice with Juniper and selling rebranded NetApp and a hodge podge of other storage arrays.  Not sure what Dell is doing, but that is another blog.

What I like about the VCE (aka "vBlock") solution:

1) It's comprised of technology-focused companies - these companies are not looking to become consulting companies, or outsourcing companies.  They aren't abandoning hardware for SW & Services.  Each player is focused on its technology and puts its R&D into the technology represented in the vBlock stack.

2) it's open - one of the biggest complaints I hear from Oracle customers is they feel that they are locked into their SW and really have little-to-no leverage in negotiating price...why add hardware to this angst by buying Exadata (Oracle's version of vBlock, but only supports Oracle stuff)

3) The integration is real, not marketing - EMC PowerPath V/E provides VMware with multi-pathing capabilities it doesn't offer on it's own, the Cisco Nexus 1000v is a virtual switch that doesn't exist without VMware, EMC storage looks all the way up into the VM's in VMware and vice-versa, and UIM is the coup de grace in terms of integration across the various components of the vBlock. 

4) One line of support -- the ding on best-of-breed has always been that there is not one line of accountability.  VCE has done away with this by coming together and offering one phone line with one point of accountability for customer support across all components in the vBlock

Varrow is one of the few vBlock certified partners in the world and we are enjoying helping our customers build these data centers of the future one vBlock at a time.


  1. I'm on-board with the entire reference architecture here. The CISCO UCS component is especially compelling. The three partners (four if you count Intel) are major movers on the tech landscape.
    However, each of the (3) partners do offer consulting services to varying degrees. They are uniquely positioned to do so on a global scope in ways that no reseller can.

    I would also like to point out that Acadia has not been mentioned. This is the love child born of the VCE and their thrust does seem to be consulting and managed services. They are the ones that have to validate whatever the other partners sell and confer the golden "vBlock" designation based on an accepted standard.

  2. Acadia, aka "VCE, Inc." does seem to be focused on consulting and managed services. I am curious to see what their partnering strategy will be. I understand it is a big part of their go-to-market, although it seems they are still trying to figure out what their go-to-market exactly is...

    EMC/Cisco/VMware stated at the time of the launch of VCE that it would be 40% less expensive to buy the vBlock as an integrated unit versus putting it together in pieces. Acacadia can bring that promise to realization.

    I envision a scenario where partners can buy vBlocks from Acadia/VCE,Inc as one sku rather than buy the separate parts from each manufacturer and put together. Partners would then layer their services and consulting offerings on top. We are actually developing a "Private Cloud gap analysis" for a customer right now. Combination of audit of parts missing to create a true private cloud and the aspects needed in terms of processes/people to manage and maintain.

    Acadia also seems to be focused on the largest companies, where we have seen our traction in the accounts larger than 500 employees but smaller than the Fortune 100...the larger organizations are still waiting a bit on the UCS piece of the vBlock, not becuase it's not ready -- we have many UCS installs and it is a powerful platform for virtualization - but because the larger shops by nature are often very conservative on the adoption curve

  3. AJ - Great article and great comments. I can't go into to too much detail on how Acadia will position itself going forward but I will say that everyone will be happy when the "reboot" of the organiztion is complete. I trust that Varrow will be at the front of this wave and I'm looking forward to it!


  4. Thanks Aaron. Good luck and say hi to Jeramiah. Let's keep in touch...interested to know how we can help each other.