A Force Re-Awakens at Dell in Converged Infrastructure

Battle with light sabers

What’s Ahead for VCE and Your Data Center

As my recent blog post explained, one of the largest growth areas for data centers in 2015 was Converged Infrastructure (CI). All the major players have pushed to get a piece of the CI pie and VCE, with one billion-plus in business to date, has emerged as the industry leader. Newcomers like Nutanix and SimpliVity are making gains while businesses begin to look to Amazon and Azure for infrastructure solutions.

With Dell’s recent agreement to purchase EMC (which absorbed VCE in 2015) the question is “What will happen next?” For Dell, the company that so famously walked away from CI in 2008, this could be the moment when the CI force reawakens. No longer under the spell of the Dark Side, Dell is now poised to start building “Dblocks” (just an idea) and keep VCE on a powerful growth trajectory. The question for this blog and for businesses considering CI solutions is this: will the alliance that has made VCE so successful to date continue to deliver great value despite the business transformations ahead?

From my perspective, what clients get with VCE remains and will continue to remain a great value. At its most basic level, VCE offers a validated configuration that combines physical computing, networking, and storage resources to form a single “out-of-the-box” solution. With more software solutions providing unified or single pane of glass management and validated patch sets across the entire infrastructure, VCE still provides a single point of support. That focused support is a powerful distinction and translates into greater performance across the data center. Obviously, “single point of support” and “out-of-the-box solution” are only two aspects of a sophisticated infrastructure solution. However, they are important CI solution considerations. Here’s why.

As a rising number of businesses look to the cloud for their computing and storage needs, IT managers and teams are beginning to view and purchase hardware as a commodity. Like an electric socket, they don’t care what wires and cables are behind the wall. They just need to be able to plug in their lamp and have the light turn on. To successfully support commodity IT buyers, CI providers need to be able to show that they have value far beyond some “white box” solution. VCE can and does do this by offering the very best support of any CI provider out there. You don’t have to know what is behind the wall because VCE is right there, ensuring the lamp is on and shining.

Is Converged Infrastructure right for your organization? Is VCE the right provider? As with most business technology, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. First, it depends on your specific requirements. What is your business looking to achieve with CI? Second, it depends on your IT culture and workloads. How much is the IT team is expected to manage and touch? VCE has had the most success to date in very large enterprise datacenters. Why? Because these organizations gain a tremendous amount of value in implementing emerging tools that drive widespread IT efficiency and give them an immediate performance advantage over the competition.

For smaller enterprise and the midmarket commercial space, the price delta requires more consideration and there are several key questions to consider, such as:

  • Will your business be able to take advantage of everything that VCE brings to the table?
  • Does your infrastructure team want and or need an easier management interface?
  • How dynamic is your infrastructure?
  • How often do you run into support issues?

If the answers to these questions demonstrate a CI need that can have substantial performance and efficiency impact, VCE is worth careful consideration. The single source support offers a major advantage and the backing of Dell, I believe, will ensure that doesn’t change. The force for support excellence has always been strong at Dell. That should continue as it embraces CI and VCE.