Do you think there will be a shift in who owns that trusted relationship with the clients?
No I don't. I think it will be the people who own it today. The opportunity for folks like GreenPages and other partners is to expand that relationship with the quality of services they provide. Historically, GreenPages has done, as an example, a great job of figuring out who is the best vendor, the best technology, etc. and providing that final mile, if you will, to the client. In a world where I have hundreds, if not thousands of service providers offering everything as a service, there is a natural value-add there to pick the best people, package it together, and wrap it up so the customer gets a seamless experience.
Talk about who you see breaking out in the service provider industry.
Too early to tell. Everybody is jumping in. Telcos. Anybody who has been in the hosting and the traditional co-location business is getting into that business. We see some new pure-play folks who are just building legacy-free models and doing cloud-based services. Then there is all the platforms: Microsoft as a service, Oracle as a service, SAP as a service. And let's not forget that we have a whole bunch of software vendors that provide higher-level business apps: Salesforce.com is a classic. So cloud is disruptive. It is disruptive for us as technology vendors. It is disruptive for customers. It is also disruptive for everybody in between the two.
What is the biggest myth about this VCE and Vblock product coalition?
I think we have to overcome the natural skepticism around industry alliances. Not a week goes by in this industry where there isn't a glowing press release where some number of vendors have come together to create something magical. Where I think VCE stands apart is the level and depth of the investment. We have hundreds of people who wear VCE badges. We have got many hundreds of millions of dollars of joint R&D behind VCE. We have coordinated well with a partner ecosystem and customer engagement model.
Talk about the criticism that VCE has a high price tag.
The problem with cloud is they don't get efficient until they get big. So there is no such thing as a small cloud. That would be an oxymoron. So you don't get these efficiencies until you start getting some decent scale, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 virtual machines. Then, holy moly, you start getting some of these cloud economics working for you. Five hundred virtual machines may sound like a lot, but your first virtual desktop deployment will probably have more than that. I think the resistance isn't necessarily the price of the technology. It is the price of getting to scale. Many IT organizations have gotten into the habit of buying a la carte: a server here, a storage device there, a network switch over there. There were no cheap mainframes in the day. There are no cheap clouds.
Talk about where the early bets are being made with VCE.
First of all, there is critical mass of people already running 500 to 1,000 virtual machines who realize this is just the opening gambit. Now they want to think about their platform going forward. The second is virtual desktop implementations. Here come 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000 virtual users all running off a shared logic system.
Anything to do with application development and testing, be it for Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Java environments, if you have got a lot of application developers they tend to look for scale.
A new one is business analytics. A number of industries are providing self-serve data warehousing business analytics. And, again, the traditional physical capacity plan of IT really doesn't work. You need to provide that capability as a service.
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