Solution providers make sense of what big vendors jumping into the hyper-converged market means.
With its acquisition by Dell fast approaching, and another quarter of lackluster financial results in the books, EMC execs are striking an aggressive pose to counter hyper-converged market moves by Cisco, and do battle with all-flash storage providers Pure Storage and NetApp.
During a conference call to discuss first-quarter earnings Wednesday, David Goulden, CEO of EMC's Information Infrastructure division, said the company is leading the charge toward widespread adoption of all-flash storage and said no competitor can match EMC's hyper-converged offerings.
Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci said the company's plan for 2016 calls for revenue, earnings and cash flow growth.
But despite red-hot market growth and undeniable buzz, a top exec at one large EMC solution provider said the jury is still out on which of the vendors playing in the hyper-converged space will establish a dominant position.
"It's too early for any of the hyper-converged plays," said the executive, who wished to remain anonymous. "We're getting sales with VSAN, Nutanix, SimpliVity and VxRail, and we're just getting [Cisco] HyperFlex into our labs, so who knows?"
On the storage front, the executive said EMC's flash storage victories over competitors like NetApp or Pure Storage haven't yet outweighed the declines in the Hopkinton, Mass.-based firm's traditional storage portfolio.
"Sure, we've seen EMC beat NetApp and others, and vice versa," the solution provider executive said. "But one transaction, good or bad, doesn't make a trend, and generally, our EMC business is down."
In partnership with VMware and its VCE unit, EMC introduced its VxRail line in mid-February. Just weeks later, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco each introduced hyper-converged solutions of their own. Goulden said Wednesday that the appliance is already exceeding the company's expectations, adding that he expects VxRail to be a market leader in short order.
"We've actually taken up our internal expectations for it for the year," Goulden said. "We had an aggressive set of goals coming out of the gate, and we actually increased those based on what we've seen based on a few weeks in the marketplace. We think we can be in a market-leading position with this technology by the end of this year."
Asked how VxRail would compete with Cisco's new HyperFlex solution, or with solutions from hyper-converged infrastructure startups like Nutanix, Goulden said the combined capabilities of EMC and VMware would be difficult for any competitor to beat.