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If Brocade is poised to grow, from whom will you take market share?
I try not to throw rocks at competitors and I don't believe I've ever encountered a successful business model that targeted a specific competitor. As a rule and philosophy, I always target customer values. If you deliver that better than your competitor, you win. If you don't, you lose. But if you want to understand who is going to lose, it's the suppliers that are not focused on the key objectives customers care about, which is simplifying their environment and reducing cost.
What Brocade is going through right now is Convergence 101. Everyone is benefited in a world where, if you look at the major players, be they the EMCs or IBMs, or the Dells or the HPs on the systems side, everyone is working together. This is the world of info management today. I understand the perspective of the partners and how they look at some of these folks as being incredibly threatening, but I gotta tell you, if the last two decades are any indication -- and to me, they are -- the most relevant impact on the evolution of small enterprise customer environments has been the channel.
The channel is where the rubber -- and the reality -- meets the road. That's where the millions of deployments have occurred. At the end of the day, it's about the channel and the channel being the one that holds the customers' hands and pragmatically takes them through the steps of embracing new business models. I've been in this industry long enough to hear many times how the channel's going to be wiped out by this model, or this integrator, or this supplier, and lo and behold, the channel has always had the speed, the ability and the intelligence, which has what's made them most efficient.
How do you want the Brocade channel to understand cloud? With all the hype around delivery models, is there one concept you want to make sure they get, about Brocade's cloud strategy or the cloud in general?
I will take the opportunity to at least be able to name a couple of things. First, this is about evolution, not revolution. If it's something that's better, simpler and more cost effective for the customer, it's going to be clearly better, simpler and more cost effective for the customer. There's no magic here.
The second point I would highlight is there's absolutely an evolution happening, and you can't go into denial and sit back and see yourself only for the products you've been selling. The people who fail are those who will identify with specific products and specific solutions, rather than understand what their value and partnership to customers is really about.
That said, if I can step away from it a little bit, there are things that are incredibly popular and are being adopted like mad, but the whole concept of being able to virtualize applications, and run virtual instances and be able to scale on generic processors, that's the real deal. Customers see a fundamental shift in the way they deploy applications in their data centers, and the thinking is almost 100 percent moving to that domain versus the historic domain of large applications running on large machines. That can't be underestimated.
So the summary message to channel partners is this: it's an evolution. Recognize that what you knew yesterday was not wrong, it's evolving. You can't stand on those laurels, but the color of the sky yesterday is still the color of the sky today. Challenge yourself on how to understand how to move your customer forward, and judiciously embrace next-generation architectures.
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