EMC's Big Reveal: Will Ship Hyper-Converged Infrastructure This Year

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EMC World 2014
David Goulden, seated center between Bill Scannell (left) and Joe Tucci, tells partners that EMC will enter the hyper-converged infrastructure market.

EMC Wednesday told its channel partners for the first time that it is building hyper-converged infrastructure technology, setting the stage for a battle pitting the storage giant against multiple startups that already have grabbed the high ground in this market.

David Goulden, CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure, revealed the news to solution providers at the EMC Global Partner Summit, held in conjunction with this week's EMC World conference.

The revelation confirms earlier CRN reports that EMC and VMware were working together on Project Mystic, which is a hyper-converged infrastructure solution, although the actual name of the project has yet to be confirmed by EMC.

[Related: Project Mystic's Potential Competitors To VMware: Bring It On]

Hyper-converged infrastructure technology combines server, storage, networking and virtualization technology in a software-defined stack running on a single commodity server rather than being deployed as separate hardware components.

Goulden was responding to a question from a solution provider who said that startups in the hyper-converged infrastructure, all-flash array, and cloud backup appliance market are "kicking our butt."

Goulden then said EMC will have a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance by the end of 2014. "It will be very competitive to products starting with 'N' or 'S,'" he said.

"N" is a reference to Nutanix, while "S" is a reference to SimpliVity. Nutanix and SimpliVity are among the leaders of a group of startups that have been first to develop the hyper-converged infrastructure market.

Goulden said that VCE, the joint venture between EMC and Cisco, has taken about 50 percent of the converged infrastructure system market, while EMC's VSPEX reference architecture has grabbed about 50 percent of the converged infrastructure market. "We will play in the hyper-converged market," he said.

Jeremy Burton, president of products and marketing for EMC, told CRN that EMC is indeed developing hyper-converged infrastructure technology using a combination of VMware software and EMC hardware to expand the company's market opportunity with SMB customers.

Such an offering would not conflict with EMC's VCE or VSPEX partnerships with Cisco, Burton said.

"We don't really have an offering in the lower end of the market," he said. "We're looking at would it make sense to put VMware software on EMC hardware. At the low end of the market, neither EMC or Cisco have anything. But VMware has more presence down there."

Sources familiar with EMC and VMWare's plans told CRN earlier this week that Project Mystic runs on Lenovo servers and Arista Networks switches. But Burton denied that this is the case.

NEXT: Channel Partners Welcome EMC's Hyperconverged Infrastructure Plans

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