Longtime EMC VAR Exec To Head EMC's Converged Infrastructure Biz

Brad Maltz hosts partners at a party during the recent EMC World conference.

A senior member of one of EMC's top channel partners is set to join EMC to take on a role aimed at helping define the storage vendor's converged infrastructure strategy.

Brad Maltz, CTO and "chief UberGeek" at Dallas-based solution provider and longtime EMC channel partner Lumenate, was named senior director of converged infrastructure in EMC's Office of the CTO, effective July 7. It's a new position at the company.

Maltz told CRN he will help EMC with its roadmaps and long-term strategies related to converged infrastructure.

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"I love Lumenate to death," Maltz said. "But this is a chance to move upstream. The industry is changing, with new technologies like converged infrastructure cloud, and end-user experience. This is an opportunity to help the industry with a stronger impact."

Converged infrastructure refers to the tying together of server, storage, networking, virtualization and sometimes other resources into an integrated solution that provides businesses with a way to manage those resources as a whole rather than through separate management systems.

EMC is one of the early leaders in the converged infrastructure market. The company is a partner with Cisco and VMware in VCE, the joint-venture developer of vBlock solutions. EMC also partners with Cisco in the development of the VSPEX reference architecture.

David Goulden, CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure, made reference to Nutanix and SimpliVity when he recently said EMC is developing a hyper-converged infrastructure that will compete with "products starting with 'N' or 'S."

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

Maltz declined to speak with CRN about Project Mystic. "I don't know about that stuff," he said. "And when I know about it, I probably won't be able to talk about it."

Getting Maltz to work on projects related to converged infrastructure is a real coup for EMC, said Jamie Shepard, Lumenate's regional and health systems senior vice president and a 12-year colleague of Maltz.

"We're Batman and Robin, the Dynamic Duo," Shepard told CRN. "He pushed me to do my best, and I pushed him to be his best."

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EMC has brought on a number of industry experts from outside the company to work on emerging technologies including converged infrastructure under CTO John Roese, to whom Maltz will report, Shepard said.

"EMC is bringing in the best people and not recycling 20-year veterans," he said. "John (Roese) handpicked Brad for the converged infrastructure business. Brad will be tasked with growing that business."

Maltz is familiar with EMC and VMware, which are working on hyper-converged infrastructure solutions like "Project Mystic" and "Project Marvin," and the work being done there should worry the competition, Shepard said.

"In Brad's new role, I expect him to work so EMC is on top to beat the likes of companies like Cisco and Nutanix," he said.

Maltz said Lumenate has built itself into an organization that can meet the consulting needs of customers in the future, following its late 2013 acquisition of DPSciences and its early 2013 acquisition of ICI.

"Lumenate is in the right spot," he said. "It has all the right pieces for a VAR in the future. Over the next five years, I'm not sure all VARs will be able to make the shift from selling boxes to being consultative around solutions. A lot are trying, but it's hard. You have to separate yourself from what the vendor is telling you, but you still have to sell products and services."

It was much easier in the past, Maltz said.

"Today, we need to focus on customer needs," he said. "In the past, you might say, 'What are your storage needs. By the way, I'm an EMC reseller.' Now you need to ask, 'What are your application needs, and how is your infrastructure able to support these needs?'"

For Maltz, the move to EMC is a homecoming of sorts. Maltz worked at EMC from 2002 to 2005 as a senior implementation consultant with EMC's old Clariion line.

Maltz also brings an industry-wide perspective to EMC after having served on the Cloud2 Commission for TechAmerica.org.

Shepard said he knew Maltz was talking to EMC for several months if for no other reason than the fact that EMC was talking to Shepard during that time to make sure he knew EMC was not stealing Maltz.

"Jamie Shepard and EMC don't take each others' people," Shepard said. "EMC was concerned."

For Maltz, the move to EMC is a real opportunity to contribute to the industry, Shepard said.

"Brad is a great guy," he said. "But as CTO here, he's gotten to the point where he could only do so much. Now he wants to be a part of building something new. I'm very proud of him."