UPDATED 10:31 EDT / JANUARY 20 2014

OpenStack, convergence + flash rapidly transform IT : Big vendors adopting | #VTUG

Last week, for the first time since its inception eight years ago, the Virtual Technology Users Group (VTUG) Winter Warmer conference wasn’t just about VMware. The more than 1,500 practitioners who attended the event split their attention between multiple platforms, a change reflective of the industry-wide shift, to a multi-hypervisor approach. This trend underscores the growing focus on cloud computing and more generally, data center transformation, the subject of Dave Vellante and Stu Miniman’s wrap-up discussion on theCUBE.

Vellante notes that while emerging paradigms like converged infrastructure and flash storage are starting to take hold in the enterprise, nothing fundamental has changed: IT professionals still have the same set of priorities, notably the need to generate expected returns on their organizations’ technology assets. The difference lies in how this goal is achieved: some companies are adopting Hyper-V to harmonize their virtualized servers with existing Microsoft deployments, while others are implementing OpenStack in pursuit of agility and operational efficiencies. The open source cloud operating system is gaining significant traction in various industries thanks to the support of major vendors like IBM and HP.

OpenStack disrupts + reshapes enterprise IT


Corporate backing has helped OpenStack evolve from a side-project at NASA to a production-ready solution, Vellante says, but leadership needs to come from the community and not an individual company. The former route may be slower, but he believes it can prove more productive on the long run, especially in fostering interoperability.

OpenStack is one of several disruptive technologies that are reshaping the enterprise. “It’s exciting times to be in IT,” Miniman comments. “We’re right in the middle of a bunch of big waves: converged infrastructure, it’s been going on for at least four or five years, lots of adoption, lots of variety from both the big companies and some of the startups in this space; [and] flash, we’re five years into this wave. And we expect that we will, over the next couple of years, see even more innovation in flash and new architectures than we saw in the last five.”

Rapid transformation : traditional vendors not falling behind


These trends, along with software-led infrastructure, are putting increased pressure on traditional vendors to differentiate, but Vellante doesn’t see the industry incumbents falling behind the curve.

“You’re seeing a really interesting dynamic: in the traditional IT space, where you’re seeing disruptions like flash, like converged infrastructure and to a certain extent even software-defined … I don’t see the big guys – the oligopoly, the cartel if you will – I don’t see them getting flipped on their sides because of this. I see them adopting,” he observes. But some vendors face bigger challenges than others.

EMC and other infrastructure companies have found themselves competing against faster-moving startups like Nutanix in the data center while fighting an uphill battle against cloud vendors such as Salesforce and SuccessFactors (now a part of SAP), which are indirectly gnawing away at their hardware sales. Vellante speculates that the storage giant might go as far as entering the software-as-a-service market in an effort to combat this threat, even if it means causing friction with partners.

photo credit: Tsahi Levent-Levi via photopin cc

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