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

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Because EMC supports the rigid configurations of Vblocks from VCE, into which it has invested several hundred million dollars, as well as the flexible configurations of VSPEX, there are concerns that EMC could be competing with VCE or at the very least cannibalizing sales from that company with its new architecture.

Kahn said cannibalization of VCE sales is not likely.

"When a customer is choosing a Vblock, it is choosing the maximum in simplicity," he said. "One configuration, one source of support. We don't see VSPEX lessening demand for Vblocks. We see this as expanding the market to provide more options for customers and partners. We actually expect to see a rapid shift from build-you-own to VSPEX."

Presidio's Kaplan said he does not think cannibalization of VCE sales will happen with EMC's VSPEX.

"I think customers who buy Vblock understand the tremendous value they get from a pre-configured converged infrastructure," he said. "If they understand that distinction, they won't be dissuaded by a flexible architecture. So VSPEX sales won't cannibalize Vblock. They will supplement Vblock sales. VSPEX is more about head-to-head competition with FlexPod."

Kahn agreed that EMC is aiming VSPEX at NetApp's FlexPod market.

He laughed at the "FlexPod" name. "We joke that it's not flexible, and it's not a pod," he said. "With VSPEX, customers can chose any server or networking."

Ambulos said EMC is investing heavily in supporting solution providers with its VSPEX offering. The company will provide marketing support to help drive sales, and will provide financing for the purchase of all the needed components from the different vendors, he said.

While there will be no single technical support hotline for VSPEX as there is with VCE, EMC expects solution providers to be able to provide the first line of customer support while relying on the individual vendors to support whatever products appear to be causing issues, Ambulos said.

"There's no single number to call like there is for Vblock," he said. "But the team has done a great job of setting this up."

EMC has set up a deal registration process for VSPEX, and will provide additional solution provider incentives for VSPEX sales above the normal EMC incentives, Ambulos said.

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