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Getting the product specifications right was only a small part of positioning VNXe for success, Gelsinger said. “The other 80 percent is the really big hill for us to climb,” he added.
“We are in a three- or four-year cycle of building out and broadening the channel at that level,” said Gelsinger. “While we are happy with the partners that we will have in place for launch, the magnitude of what we need to go do is so much bigger. I really think we are going to be under way in this for several years until we really feel like we fully develop what we need in terms of our channel partners and channel relationships.”
Gelsinger is also leading the charge to crank up the EMC product machine for the second and third generations of VNXe. The storage industry in general is about 15 to 18 months behind the Intel processor product cadence, he said, and he aims to put EMC in lockstep with Intel processor releases to drive even greater price, performance and ease of use. “If I am three to six months behind them [Intel], I could deliver anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent more performance for free,” he said. “That is our objective—to be right on their cadence. The result will be features, function, performance that will differentiate us from the industry. That is our objective. We are going to be better aligned [with Intel] going forward, and we are well under way in that partnership to accomplish that.”
Gelsinger is serious about price/performance leadership. Only 45 days after taking the job at EMC, he made a presentation to the board of directors that focused in part on just that. His message? “We have to go take the price points in the channel much more seriously if we are going to accomplish our objective to be the biggest player in storage and infrastructure going forward. This is a must-do for us.”
If everything goes as planned, Gelsinger said VNXe “could be and should be a multibillion-dollar business for us going forward.” Of course, he cautions, it won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take several years to build out an SMB channel. What’s more, he said, “We have to change the perception of EMC.”