EMC Signs Distributors To Assemble VSPEX Solutions

EMC is signing up distributors to build converged storage, server and networking infrastructures based on its VSPEX reference architecture.

Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Arrow are among the distributors being certified by EMC to configure and assemble converged infrastructures using EMC's VSPEX reference architecture, which is a set of blueprints provided by the vendor that specifies how to connect EMC storage with servers and networking products from other vendors.

The distributor-configured solutions will be based on such EMC storage technology as its VNX and VNXe SMB storage lines and its Avamar and Data Domain deduplication technologies, said Daniel Coetsier, vice president of global services for channel and partners for the vendor.

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While solution providers can configure and assemble converged infrastructures based on EMC's VSPEX reference architecture, Coetsier said he expects they would see the benefits of having that assembly done by distributors.

"I suspect it will be more efficient for them to work with the distributors," he said. "VARs must decide if they want to do lower-end assembly services or focus on their own services."

Chuck Bartlett, vice president and general manager for Tech Data's Advanced Infrastructure Solutions division, said having the VSPEX solutions assembled by his company will help boost solution provider efficiency.

"In many cases, resellers have to turn their customer sites into an assembly facility," Bartlett said. "Depending on availability, part of the order gets there one day, and part on another day, unless there is a request to ship complete. We have two 25,000-square-foot facilities, one in New Jersey and one in California, to do this."

Bartlett declined to state how much Tech Data would charge to do the configuration and assembly, but he said it would cost less than if solution providers handled the task themselves.

"EMC's program allows partners to leverage the configuration and assembly capabilities of Tech Data while freeing up their people to look for new opportunities," he said.

Tech Data is providing configuration and assembly help on VSPEX solutions featuring Cisco UCS servers and Nexus networking products, as well as on solutions with IBM servers and Brocade networking, Bartlett said. Configurations featuring Hewlett-Packard servers and networking will be less likely to be ordered because HP provides complete converged infrastructure solutions, he said.

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Tech Data has been providing the VSPEX solutions on an informal basis, as the Advanced Infrastructure Solutions is already focused on offering partners complete solutions rather than selling individual products, Bartlett said.

EMC originally introduced the VSPEX reference architecture as a way for solution providers to provide preconfigured, pretested solutions to customers who did not want to invest in the more enterprise-focused Vblock technology from VCE, the joint-venture company formed by EMC, Cisco, and VMware.

EMC's Coetsier said he does not expect distributor-provided VSPEX configuration and integration services to cannibalize sales of the VCE product line.

"Customers can go with a fully-configured VCE Vblock solution, or with VSPEX, or do their own solution on their own," he said. "I think the market will exist for all three types. And one will not cannibalize the other."