Simplivity Changing the Way IT Runs

If you are having any doubts about the IT infrastructure consumption model changing, Simplivity’s series C of $58 million should catch the attention of a lot of IT vendors and IT consumers. Consuming infrastructure piece parts that all perform a specific function and then spending an enormous amount of time integrating, troubleshooting, and supporting IT infrastructure, while fun and challenging for many IT professionals, is not the most efficient use of time nor investment dollars. Consuming a simplified infrastructure architecture that is turnkey, performs on par with or better than the existing hardware platform, AND includes features and functionality that are unattainable for many is where IT is headed.

Simplivity is right in the mix of the market and its timing is well suited to where IT shops are today with virtualization at all tiers and turning the corner towards cloud consumption models. Whether it is a hardware refresh, scaling the virtualized environment, or spanning resources to a public cloud provider, Simplivity is well matched to help in all situations. The fact that Simplivity collapses IT infrastructure is important, but it is everything else Simplivty can do out of the box that really matters. This includes data architecture features that deduplicate, compress, and optimize data locally in a cluster and extend the value with replication and WAN acceleration features, enabling IT to manage a globally distributed platform as a single system.

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage IT Infrastructure Networking Compute Virtualization Cloud Platforms & Services

The Power of 3: Citrix, Cisco, and NetApp Deliver Data Center to the Desktop

The synergies, engineering efforts, and go to market execution of these three companies should not be underestimated in a time where IT organizations are looking for integrated solutions and businesses transform toward cloud computing. Businesses with ongoing efforts in desktop delivery, cloud adoption, and simplifying infrastructure should include the holistic value and simplification these companies can deliver. Each of these companies brings unique capabilities that when synced together are going to be a difficult force to reckon with. Commonalities include:

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage Endpoint & Application Virtualization IT Infrastructure Networking Compute Enterprise Mobility Public Cloud Service Cloud Platforms & Services

3 Highlights with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2

With any server operating system upgrade, IT is always looking for the hooks that help motivate the upgrade process and deliver additional value. Sometimes it is as simple as better performance, a single feature that has been a long time coming, or something that simply snaps into an IT policy and waits out any bumps from the early adopters. By now IT shops should have solid exposure to Windows Server 2012, blipped through SP1, and are now ready to focus on R2. As IT pros research and learn about Windows Server 2012 R2 deployment opportunities, they should be aware of these three potential impacts:

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage IT Infrastructure Networking Compute Cloud Platforms & Services

VCE Continues to Demonstrate Solid Momentum

VCE remains the vendor that, when I mention their name, the lights go on and people seem to get the value of ICPs (integrated computing platforms). While many vendors are participating in this market, VCE’s early market presence and leadership continues to build momentum amongst the industry and its customers.

VCE's most recent announcement was packed with momentum and further validation of the areas of focus they spoke of in 1H2013. These new announcements include:

  • vBlocks: New vBlock 340 with EMC Next Gen VNX & a specialized system vBlock for high performance databases (well timed for the 60,000 attendees at Oracle Open World 2013)
  • Vision 2.5 improvements with additional integration with VMware and tied into Cloud Accelerator Services
  • Go to Market Partners: Expanded programs and increased incentives
Topics: Cloud Computing Storage EMC Cisco IT Infrastructure VMware Networking Compute Cloud Platforms & Services

Impressions From VMworld '13 (Includes Video)

Mentioning that VMware held its annual VMworld get-together in San Francisco this week is likely to not be news to anyone! After all VMware is one of the most widely-used and integrated vendors in this space. And the event has become a major IT ecosystem show - indeed arguably, looked at through my myopic spectacles, it's also one of the biggest storage shows there is out there. But of course the impact of VMware has gradually been expanding – it’s not just about server virtualization, or even my beloved storage. Years ago I remember Paul Maritz saying that VMware was building a “software mainframe”…..despite that only truly resonating with people of a certain age (those who actually remember mainframes!), this year’s event struck me as the year that VMware really put that intention as a line the sand. From networking to storage to data protection, and from data centers to the palm of your hand, VMware wants to be a part of things.

That was the story this week – under the banner of “Defy Convention” (I loved the – unintended? - irony of promoting that phrase everywhere at a convention!!) VMware revealed more intent than content; but the intent looks big. Essentially it was a declaration that just about all those with whom VMware co-operates today, should be prepared for the balance to shift inexorably to competition over the coming years. It’s going to be a fascinating ride – after all, the entire IT industry is locked into a maelstrom of convergence, cloud, virtualization, integration, and mobility…and VMware is already “meshed” into that in a big way. So, realistically, we know VMware is already a key element for many users at the center of that; there’s one small issue, of course….and that is that there’s also competition for VMware. The likes of Microsoft, Cisco, Amazon and Google - together with all the traditional specialist infrastructure vendors – are not going to simply sit around and watch VMware take over. For users, this burgeoning battle might need sides to be picked in the short term, but should ultimately deliver a few good choices….and I suggest everyone learns to spell ‘co-opetition.’

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage Endpoint & Application Virtualization IT Infrastructure Data Protection VMware Networking Information and Risk Management Compute VMworld Enterprise Mobility Cloud Platforms & Services

vBlog -- Using a Separate or Unified Solution for protecting VMs

As many in the IT industry are getting ready for VMworld, my mind always wanders back to what seems to be the perennial question – “Use a separate backup solution for protecting VMs … or a single solution for physical and virtual servers?”

It used to be that the Virtualization-specific solutions did an inarguably better job than the Unified players did, because they had done the extra effort to make up for insufficient backup APIs in the hypervisor(s). But those days are over. VMware vStorage APIs for data protection (VADP) and Microsoft Hyper-V’s Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) mechanisms ensure that every backup solution that wants to do a good job of protecting VMs can. That is NOT to say that all VM backup solutions are equal!! What it does mean is that “can I back up a VM?” is no longer the right question.

Topics: Microsoft IT Infrastructure Data Protection VMware Information and Risk Management Compute Virtualization Cloud Platforms & Services

6 Months with a Dell XPS 12

In my previous job I had the company-assigned machine which was a brick type laptop with enough processing power and memory to get by – but to keep costs down in a 50,000 plus employee company the machine was not light. Needless to say I wasn’t sad about that when I had to give it back when I left. Here at ESG we have a BYOD and a cloud program (practice what we talk about). So I’d been wanting to make the cutover to Apple for a long time and the BYOD policy was my chance to do that. For better or worse as a family we have a lot of Apple stuff at home and I figured it would just help to simplify things for me a bit.

So I purchased a Macbook Pro 13 as my BYOD machine – which I figured would be a good sized machine to work and travel with. There were only 2 things wrong with this plan. The first one turned out to be fairly irritating to me. While the product and the brand is the same – MS Word does not behave the same on a Mac as it does on a Windows PC. This is especially problematic when you are always sending content to your production team and they have to constantly ‘reformat’ the docs. Extra work is extra work no matter how you spin it. The second problem was equally distressing. One of my colleagues and I were down in Austin visiting a few customers and the machine froze. Nothing could bring it back to life and I didn’t have a micro Philips on me to peel the battery out. So we hit an Apple store … 30 minute wait for a ‘genius’ then they take it out back for 30 more and come back to tell me it has to go to a repair depot. Crap. No machine for how long? To their credit it arrived at the house the day after I did but I was still machine-less for 3 days. A month later the same thing happens. I bring it into the local store and that costs me another hour to have them tell me they need to keep it at least overnight for observation. Huh? They needed to run a series of tests that would take 12 hours at least. Ok. Fine. I get the machine again the next day and it runs fine for a month. Yup, and it happens again. This time I call Apple directly and ask for a supervisor. They send out a box for me to send it to corporate to look at.

Topics: Cloud Computing IT Infrastructure Compute

Microsoft Surface Server for Your Data Center?

ESG has been tracking and monitoring the integrated computing platform (ICP) market extensively, as major system vendors like Hitachi, HP, Dell and IBM align their server, networking, and storage products into a single turnkey solution or companies like VCE, NetApp, and Cisco partner and execute through a best of breed approach. We also have a number of emerging companies like Nutanix, Scale Computing, Simplivity, and Pivot3 that are taking more of a bottom up approach and have the potential to cause some disruption with their ‘hyper-converged’ solutions. ESG covers all these ICPs and the benefits to IT organizations in greater detail in its recently published Market Landscape Report: Integrated Computing Platforms. But, where does Microsoft fit into the mix and why should you care?

Microsoft has its Private Cloud Fast Track program with a number of vendors providing joint reference architectures (RAs) for building private cloud platforms. Integrated with Microsoft System Center for management and orchestration, these RAs combine Microsoft software and guidance with OEM partner technology to deliver validated, turnkey solutions. They are designed around several key tenets of cloud computing: resource pooling, elasticity, continuous availability, predictability, metering and chargeback, multi-tenancy, and security and identity. Participating vendors include Cisco, Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Huawei, IBM, NEC, NetApp, and Nimble Storage.

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage Microsoft IT Infrastructure Networking Compute Cloud Platforms & Services

Server Virtualization Holding Pattern Leading to Cloud Stall

The macro IT market is experiencing an extended evaluation and research period for IT organizations that is resulting in a dip in action for vendors.

Topics: Cloud Computing Storage IT Infrastructure Networking Compute Virtualization Public Cloud Service Cloud Platforms & Services

NetApp and Cisco Expand FlexPod Portfolio

Keeping pace with the rapid rate of change in integrated computing platforms (ICPs), NetApp and Cisco aren’t wasting any time aligning innovation with the demands of its 2,400 customers. The days of do-it-yourself (DIY) builds are waning as more and more ICP vendors aim to make IT infrastructure easier to procure, manage, and maintain. Full details of this shift are described in ESG’s Market Landscape Report: Integrated Computing Platforms.

To accommodate the needs of a growing market, NetApp and Cisco are developing solutions for companies of various size and targeting new workloads, all while continuing to sweeten their ingredients. Knowing that one size fits all is not going to work inside IT organizations, NetApp and Cisco offer:

  • FlexPod Datacenter. Availble for multiple use case in the enterprise IT data center and a service provider running a shared virtualized environment.
  • FlexPod Express. FlexPod Express, which is designed to help IT clean house and aggregate workloads onto a single platform, targets down market.
  • FlexPod Select. FlexPod Select is geared towards specialized environments in the enterprise data center.
Topics: Cloud Computing Storage Cisco IT Infrastructure Networking Compute Cloud Platforms & Services