The way IT is accustomed to procuring and consuming virtual computing infrastructure is rapidly changing. Its traditional DIY (do it yourself) model is littered with risk and new integrated computing solutions take the guesswork out of infrastructure, remove the complexity, and ultimately arm IT with the ability to improve business process as opposed to spending a giant portion of their time maintaining infrastructure.
It's amazing to watch the lights go on with IT professionals as you walk them through virtual computing infrastructure options. At the beginning of nearly every conversation they are 100% convinced that DIY is the best and only option. As we expose them to the integrated solutions and walk through the benefits, nearly everyone is anxious to learn more. This was evident when we presented ESG Market Landscape Report,Virtual Computing Infrastructures: The Movement Towards Integrated Computing: The Foundations for Cloud at a New England VMUG and further validated in a recent ESG Research Brief, Virtualized Computing Infrastructure Preferences.
A looming question in the market has been how far down market will the IT vendor community drive these integrated computing solutions? There is certainly a desire in midmarket organizations with less than 1000 employees to consume turnkey integrated infrastructures due to limited IT staff and time constraints but what are the magic ingredients that will spark a change in the consumption model? NetApp and Cisco believe they have them with a new entry level FlexPod. The entry level FlexPod is built using Cisco C-Series UCS Rack Servers as opposed to many of the other integrated solutions we see in the market that are architected with blade servers. The rack servers provide a form factor familiar to this market segment and should help quell the association between high end enterprise integrated solutions with a more consumable approach for midmarket organizations.
Making a move downmarket should not be considered unique to NetApp and Cisco. We anticipate systems vendors such as HP and Dell will do the same with their vStart and VirtualSytem solutions. On the other hand, I would not expect as much downmarket focus from companies such as VCE or Oracle.
The virtual computer infrastructure consumption model is quickly changing and procuring virtual computing infrastructures is going to become more of a business decision than most IT organizations are accustomed to.
You can read Mark's other blog entries at Liquefying IT.