EMC World 2011, Monday Recap Part One: Beginning of the VCE Avalanche

6a0128779ad48c970c01543238627d970cDay One is in the books, and man was it a crazy one.  After getting to sleep around 1am, everyone reported bright and early for the vLabs role-call at 6:30am.  The team did kick-ass work getting everything ready to go, and here’s a good pic of Chris Horn getting the troops fired up before the vLabs officially opened.  The vLabs definitely had their challenges, but once again the vSpecialist team proved that there’s nothing that they can’t overcome.  Nick Weaver, Tee Glasgow, Simon Seagrave, Chris and the entire team deserve a lot of credit, mostly because the general public will never know the technical hurdles that they had to clear to make this available to the public.  If any of those guys have to pay for a drink this week, I’ll be very disappointed.

6a0128779ad48c970c014e8858fe12970dOnce the show formally kicked off, it was time to head over and check out the Social City/Bloggers Lounge that Len Devanna and the EMC Social Media had set up.  In addition to being incredible cool looking, the space was functional as well, with free espresso, lots of power outlets and great seats to watch John Furrier in the Cube doing interviews.  it was also a great place to meet people, with a who’s who of the technology blogging scene wandering in and out.  I got to talk to Chuck Hollis, Dave Henry, Ed Haletky, Luigi Danakos, Sean Thulin, Matt Brender and a ton more, which really helps to cement those relationships.  Twitter is great, but it’s nice to shake someone’s hand every once in a while!  Overall, it was a big win for the bloggers!  Thank you EMC!

Ionix UIM Provisioning/Operations 2.1 Announced

Once the morning keynote kicked off, the announcements and news items started flowing.  Rather than just rehash the items that were announced, going to break this up into a couple different blog posts (you are welcome, Kenny) and discuss them in relation to the markets they are targeted at.  First, let’s look at the VCE specific announcement of the day (I am biased, of course).  EMC introduced the latest version of the Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager, version 2.1, along with the new “Operations” feature-set.  This is a big deal for both current and existing Vblock customers for a couple reasons.

  • More integration with VMware vCenter (yes, it now provisions all the way up to the VMware cluster layer!)
  • More integration with VMware vCenter Operations
  • More integration with VMware vCloud Director
  • Support for VNX-based storage (much, much more on this tomorrow)
  • Expanded API which is available to customers to use directly

All of this additional integration means that it’s much, much easier to configure, deploy and provision the pool of resources that a Vblock represents, which translates to huge cost savings to the customer over the life of the platform.  Operational efficiency is the key to op-ex cost control, and a good, integrated management platform really makes this possible.  Expect there to be some snide comments from competitors on this announcement, but understand that only HP can tell a management story anywhere close to the one VCE has, and even there the lack of a complete networking platform hurts them.  Saying that you partner with third-party orchestration companies is a very different thing that having a tool that this developed in lock step with all of the component manufacturers.  Of course, allowing customers to leverage an existing orchestration platform is important, and the Vblock/UIM APIs definitely make that possible, but support for new features is always going to lag from these vendors no matter how closely aligned they are.  Maybe that lag isn’t significant, and maybe it is, but UIM gives Vblock customers another path to take.

6a0128779ad48c970c014e8858fe1b970dThere was also the announcement of the “Operations” feature-set, which is a very welcome addition in my opinion.  One of the challenges of any converged infrastructure is being able to track every vApp and every VM back to where it lives on the storage and compute components.  Now, you can drill down directly from UIM to be able to enumerate the VMware objects and see exactly what cluster, blade, datastore and storage those objects live on.  It’s great for inventory, and great for troubleshooting.  Try it yourself; head down to the vLabs and get your hands on the demo.  The other thing to keep in mind is that in no way is the development of this platform slowing down; there will more more functionality, more integration and more feature-sets added as the Vblock evolves.  The interest in the platform is evident by the crush of people surrounding the two different Vblocks on the floor at EMC World.  Yes, that’s a VNX-based array in there, but we’ll talk more about that tomorrow…