EMC Debuts VSPEX Reference Architecture, Targets NetApp's FlexPod Business

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Over time, EMC will expand the VSPEX configurations with other vendors depending on customer feedback, Kahn said.

"That may cause us to expand to AMD chips, but at the present time AMD is not included," he said. "We may also expand our technology alliances and extend our preferred partners in specific layers. Again, those expansions will be based on customer and partner input. The one place we don't expect to offer additional (vendor) options is in the storage and backup layer."

Solution providers will have two options in terms of how they implement the VSPEX reference architecture, including ordering the different components specified by the "blueprint" and configuring it themselves, or working with one of several distributors who will can integrate and test the solutions before sending them to the customer site.

Four distributors in the U.S., including Arrow ECS, Avnet Technology Solutions, Ingram Micro, and Tech Data, will shortly offer that service to solution providers.

One of those, Avnet, already configures FlexPod solutions for solution providers.

Scott Look, vice president and general manager for Avnet's Technology Infrastructure Solutions Group, said assembly of VSPEX-based solutions will be carried out by a completely different team from that which assembles FlexPod-based solutions.

Look said the importance of a reference architecture like VSPEX is the work that went on behind the scenes validating the configurations.

"There's value in terms of shortening the sales cycle and cutting down on errors because of the validated configurations," he said.

Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of North American marketing at Arrow ECS, said his company will work to get EMC Velocity channel program partners to look at solutions based on VSPEX and on Arrow's configuration capabilities -- even those partners who require components that Arrow currently does not carry.

"For instance, we don't have Cisco as a stand-alone component, but we do work with Cisco as part of our VCE business," Koliopoulos said. "So a partner may buy the EMC and VMware components from us and Cisco from someone else and still come to us to do the integration. This thing is so flexible in the way we build it."

Don Hoppock, director of Ingram Micro's Advanced Computing Division, said his company is already integrating its own vBundle reference architecture based on EMC storage for partners, and is drawing on that experience to work with EMC's VSPEX.

"We've been working with Nexus, a Valencia, Calif.-based solution provider, on a beta program to vet the process," Hoppock said. "We're ready to go."

While Ingram Micro does not carry Brocade in its product lineup, it can get the Brocade gear through its EMC relationship, Hoppock said.

NEXT: Could VSPEX Cannibalize VCE Vblock Sales?

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