That makes it an appropriate time to do a recap of the market.
For reference, I am turning to Wikibon’s Stuart Miniman, who wrote a post last week about the convergence market and where it is right now.
To start, why now?
Data is starting to flood the enterprise. It is creating two pressures. One comes from the need to invest more in infrastructure as the data load increases. The other comes from the labor needed to manage all that new data and the infrastructure that comes with it.
It’s a puzzle for the CIO, who has a flat budget and is also tasked with growing and transforming the business.
In this context, you can see the impact that virtualization has on the CIO. You will see many a proud CIO boast about server consolidation. Through consolidation, CIOs have seen the impact in servers, storage and networking gear. That has meant deeper integrations to the point where we now see convergence as the next logical step.
Now the CIO faces a new issue. How to get the next level of savings by extending the impact to the application layer. And that brings us to the spring of convergence with the promise that every new spring brings. In particular, as Miniman points out, speeding the deployment at a customer site, since the application stack is part of the solution architecture.
Chjannel strategies are a big part of this new world of convergence. The systems integrators and value added resellers stand at the front door of almost any customer out there. With that in mind, here are the main players in the space and how they are pursuing the market:
- FlexPods from Cisco and NetApp: 20 “Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs)” include VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Red Hat, and more. They have more than 1,050 customers in 33 countries. FlexPod is sold solely through the channel and leverages both the Cisco and NetApp strong channel relationships.
- IBM PureSystems: A major focus of the recent launch is “built in expertise”, especially with the PureApplication (PaaS) offering. IBM has lined up a large partner ecosystem and GA of the product is expected in July 31, 2012. IBM’s channel strategy is Blue on Blue - all IBM branding with opportunities for value-added dealers and resellers to make incremental margin by selling integration.
- EMC VSPEX: This was announced in April 2012 with five configurations (two VDI and three Private Cloud). Partners are Intel, Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Cisco, Brocade. VSPEX is a 100% channel program with branding opportunities for the distribution partners.
- HP: HP has a broad portfolio of converged infrastructure ranging from the P4800 (LeftHand storage + server), through the CloudSystem, VirtualSystem, and AppSystem families. HP has Cloud Maps for architecting solutions with HP partners. As discussed in this video with Dave Donatelli, HP breaks out revenue for servers, storage, and networking, but did not share metrics on any of the integrated systems. HP’s Service One program includes options for HP and distribution branding and an increased commitment to all services through the channel (details in this video).
- Dell vStart: Dell’s offerings include “Application Recipes” (as discussed in this video with Ben Tao of Dell), initially only for Microsoft Sharepoint and soon expanding to the rest of the Microsoft suite and beyond. Dell sells about 70% of vStart through the channel.
We are entering the “second wave,” of convergence as George Crump of Information Week describes it.
In the second wave we will see the emergence of solid state drives as the core driver of convergence. I expect that is what we will see next year in the second season of spring convergence.