Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Steve Latham, Kevin Jackson, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

Blog Feed Post

Vblock: Simplifying The Private Cloud Strategy


Today we will be talking about VCE’s cloud infrastructure product, the Vblock. Gartner’s recent study that through next year 60% of enterprises will embrace some form of cloud adoption, has enlightened the competitive cloud vendor market. But at the same time, does the cloud industry need to be driven by vendor competition or vendor collaboration? Archie Hendryx of VCE Technology Solutions discusses this very matter.

EM360°: Could you tell us about VCE and why cloud has played a big part in your company’s solutions?

Archie: VCE is a unique start up company formed via joint investments from EMC, Cisco, VMware and Intel that has been operating for just over three years. Its focus is solely on building the world's most advanced converged infrastructure, the Vblock. The Vblock is a pretested, prevalidated and preconfigured and more importantly pre-integrated infrastructure solution of storage, compute, networking and hypervisor; so in other words it ships out as a single SKU and product to the customer.

Personally I like to equate VCE as a revolutionary that has changed the way we view infrastructure as it’s manufacturing and selling infrastructure as a product much in the way like you buy a car such as an Audi. When you buy an Audi you may have different components from different vendors that make up that car but what the end user is purchasing is a single product. Similarly with the Vblock while we may use different components from our investors Cisco, EMC, VMware and Intel the end user is acquiring a product.  Because it’s a standardized product, the Vblock models are exactly the same regardless of geographical location, which completely radicalizes and simplifies the customer experience of infrastructure and consequently mitigates the typical risk associated with it.

As for how the cloud has played a big part in VCE’s success, one of the major criticisms of private clouds is that the end user still has to build, manage and maintain the infrastructure to the extent that they are continuing the ‘keeping the lights on’ approach of IT. Ultimately this lacks the economic benefit that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept. Hence what we and our customers quickly realized is that a private cloud’s success ultimately depends on the stability, reliability, scalability and performance of its infrastructure. By going the Vblock route our customers immediately attain that stability, reliability, scalability and performance and consequently accelerate their private cloud initiatives. For example with support issues, VCE alone are the owner of the ticket because the Vblock is their product. Once the Vblock has been shipped out problems that might potentially be faced by a customer in Glasgow can easily be tested on a like-for-like standard Vblock in our labs. This rapidly resolves performance issues or trouble tickets.

The other distinctive feature of the Vblock is its accelerated deployment. We ship to the customer a ready assembled logically configured product and solution in only 30-45 working days, from procurement to production. This has an immediate effect in terms of the reduction in cost of ownership, especially when the businesses demand that instant platform for their new projects.

EM360°: Your latest cloud infrastructure solution sees your components from the Vblock, integrating with VMware’s new cloud solutions system. Can you tell me why industry collaboration is seen to be prominent in today's market?

Archie: What I think has driven this is a change in mindset of customers which has been initiated by the concept of cloud computing. Customers are reassessing the way they procure IT and they want a simplified and accelerated experience that doesn't require having to go to multiple vendors and solutions. I think vendors that are still only focused on storage or servers and have not looked at expanding their offerings via alliances or acquisitions are either going to fold or be swallowed up by the big fishes as they look to add to their portfolios. This is one of the reasons why the latest announcement from VMware and their vCloud suite is so exciting and of course VCE’s support and integration for it.

If VCE and the Vblock are responsible for accelerating your journey to the private cloud you could say that adding this vCloud suite would pretty much give it a major turbo boost.


EM360°: Are copyright factors, or other vendors sussing out each other’s strengths and weaknesses, a problem when you encounter a project like this?

Archie: That's a really interesting question and certainly I have experienced that in previous roles, especially when I was with initiatives such as Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) when they had SMI-S compliancy. We were always promised that SMI-S compliancy would allow us to have the utopia of a single pane of glass for heterogeneous storage arrays, regardless of whether the storage array was from HDS, HP or EMC. Sadly this was never the case. As none of the vendors opened up fully and you only ended up with around 60% functionality, which ultimately meant that you went back to the native tools and multiple management panes of glass that you had anyway. You could not really blame the vendors as it would be naive to think that one vendor would allow its competitor to dissect their micro-code. This mindset is not going to change. So that is why you will see vendors deciding to procure their own server companies or storage vendors to provide this end-to-end stack.

At VCE we are in a very unique position where our investors are not competing with each other, and for us they are ultimately the component providers to our product. We don't necessarily support or include all of our investors’ products or portfolios as components, only those we feel really best integrate with our single end user product. Once we have our specific components defined from our investors based on our standards we then pre-integrate and manufacture our product as a comprehensive solution. While our competitors and even our investors have such a large portfolio of products and offerings, VCE only do Vblocks and hence only focus on improving and optimizing Vblocks, enabling us to do things which others in the industry have only dreamed of, and this will be announced very soon.


EM360°: Today's enterprise market is obviously rather confused and what some other analysts are also thinking.  I don’t think some companies know what they want for their departments, whether to embrace public, open, private or a bit of both — hybrid functions. A lot of vendors are doing their own spin on cloud, particularly the niche players. Is the industry doing enough to simplify the product offering?

Archie: In a nutshell no. There is still a lot of confusion out there and smoke screen marketing from various vendors and this hasn't helped the end user decide or make the distinction between the various offerings and what is best for them. What we have found most recently with a lot of our enterprise clients is that they initially look at us as part of a storage server or datacenter refresh. While they may have some cloud initiatives, they really have little or no idea on how to achieve them, certainly in terms of the traditional model of IT procurement and deployment.

Once they understand the concept of the Vblock and how VCE can provide them a productized, risk free infrastructure we immediately see them come to the realisation of how this could be aligned to a Private Cloud model that in turn could develop to a Hybrid cloud. Once the customer realizes how agile and quick the deployment of their infrastructure could be with a Vblock , we nearly always find them talking and feeling freer to think higher up the stack with strategic discussions and plans on how they can deploy a management and orchestration solution and service portal. Ultimately if you want people to really understand the Cloud and what’s best for them you’ve got to show them how you take away the risk from their traditional IT and infrastructure challenges.


EM360°: Have we seen innovation thrive in the cloud infrastructure management market, and what kinds of developments and developments have really caught your eye today?

Archie: There are a lot great products and suites out there. Every day we are seeing improvements in the look and the feel of such products as they come closer to providing that public cloud experience to the private cloud. I think the challenge of all of these solutions up to now is that they have to be integrating with all of the components of the infrastructure as separate entities, especially when it comes to designing and deploying orchestration. Without trying to reveal too much what VCE will be bringing out, I can certainly say that it will completely revolutionize and simplify this, where the product will now be managed, monitored and orchestrated as exactly that, a single Vblock product. When this development comes it will really excite many and completely transform the private cloud infrastructure model going forward.

EM360°: Are there any final thoughts you would like to leave our readers with as to how the cloud infrastructure market will play out in the future, what kind of systems we could be using and how enterprises should look to plan ahead?

Archie: The industry is at an inflection point. The approach to IT is changing and is affecting the way customers and vendors approach and procure infrastructure, specifically with regards to the mission critical applications that they ultimately depend on. This is going to lead to more converged infrastructure offerings that are eventually going to pretty much get to the point where VCE are, which is a standardized product offering, or as we like to call it an x86 mainframe. One CTO of a customer recently  said to me that if I do not look at purchasing the components of the power and cooling of my datacenter, why should I do that with my infrastructure? That kind of summed it up for me because there is going to come a time when people will look back at the way open systems IT was purchased and deployed as ludicrous as someone today buying all of the components of a laptop, putting it all together, somehow expecting it to work perfectly and then be supported seamlessly by all of the vendors of the components.

To take that laptop analogy further what we will eventually see with infrastructure viewed and built as a product, is a new way to manage, monitor and update it as a product. For example when you update your laptop you are automatically notified of the patches and it’s a single click of the button for the single product. You don’t receive an update for your keyboard, followed by an update for your screen only for a week later to be sent another update for your CD-ROM. Concurrently when it comes to support you don’t log a call with the manufacturer of the CD-ROM component of your laptop you go directly to the manufacturer of the product. Imagine that same experience with your Cloud infrastructure where it alerts you of a single seamless update for the whole product? Where it has a true single management pane and presents itself to the end user as a single entity? Imagine how that would simplify the configuration, orchestration and management of the Private Cloud. That’s where the future lies and to be honest it might not be that far away.

Excerpt from interview & live podcast with Enterprise Management 360 Magazine

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
Now that the world has connected “things,” we need to build these devices as truly intelligent in order to create instantaneous and precise results. This means you have to do as much of the processing at the point of entry as you can: at the edge. The killer use cases for IoT are becoming manifest through AI engines on edge devices. An autonomous car has this dual edge/cloud analytics model, producing precise, real-time results. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Eng...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, will discuss new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of securit...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
China Unicom exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, ICT, data communica...
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, provided the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” used open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees learned where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructure. The...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...