Talk about the customer appetite for cloud solutions.
I have been writing seriously about cloud models and private cloud in particular since the beginning of 2009, and when I started I was getting polite smiles and eye rolls. I guess it was the bad economy, but now everyone is taking cloud seriously.
The question on people's minds isn't so much, 'What is it? Do I want one?' It is how do I get to the parts of the cloud that matter to me and my IT situation.
There are a lot of different journeys and paths to the cloud. The way I would position VCE is very simple: It accelerates the journey. Once you figure out you want to get to a nice destination -- maybe it is a private cloud now or a fully virtualized environment -- the question is who can help me get there fastest? When I look at the deliverables around VCE, there is the reference architecture, Vblock, an incredibly strong partner ecosystem. We can argue about the relative merits of the technology. I think they stand well on their own. But at the same time you are seeing the ability to get where you are going very quickly.
When you put a Vblock in front of a progressive IT organization -- and remember all Vblocks have to go through channel partners, you can't sell them direct -- one of two things happen: People in the line discipline, the server guy, the storage guy, the network guy, their general reaction is this is not how I do servers, storage or networks. Then you pop up a level, maybe a director of operations or a VP of data center infrastructure, and they see something very different. They see the benefit around this is not how I do things today. The roles are different. The responsibilities are different. The workflows are different. We are using Vblock to signify this is how good looks like when you are all done. It is your decision whether you want to get there in three years or one year or three months.
How does the role of VCE and Vblock change the partner landscape?
The role of the limited value-add box-shifter, technology mover, distributor is I think getting commoditized. All the value has moved to consulting, integration, skill set transfer, service management practices.
For partners that invest in next-generation skills capabilities whether it be technical skills, operational skills or business consulting skills, we see a bottomless opportunity. We are having a tough time keeping up with demand even in our own customer base for meeting the needs of very smart IT leaders who understand that something has changed, want to understand it and want to figure out what it means to them and get there very quickly.
We are here at GreenPages and they are putting all their weight behind this journey to the private cloud concept. It is not a hedge. It is not, 'I want to talk to you about 10 things; one of them is cloud.' It is the thing they want to talk about. When you look at cloud it is nothing more than IT as a service.
This happens in our industry every 10 to 15 years. I was around when the Internet came into IT and Unix came into the IT world. Paradigm shifts have a way of changing how we deliver services to end users. We are very fortunate to have a partner like GreenPages that sees the opportunity and wants to get ahead of the demand and invests in the skills and capabilities to get customers on the journey.
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