B.Y.O.P – The Alternative Vblock

In college I often would be invited to a get together that could often include the letters BYOB, Bring Your Own Beer. Sometimes a cookout would be BYOM, Bring Your Own Meat (or meat alternative for the vegetarians). So today I want to leverage this to push my new acronym B.Y.O.P. Bring Your Own Pod. Lately I have been seeing people talk about Vblocks. If I can venture a succinct definition a Vblock is a pre-configured set of Cisco, EMC and VMware products tested by super smart people, approved by these people to work together, then supported by these organizations as a single entity. Your reseller/solutions provider really should already be doing this very thing for you. You may choose to buy just the network piece, or the hypervisor but your partner should be able to verify a solution to work from end to end and provide unified support.

So You can’t call it BYOPCVCEP

Why not Vblock? This might get me blacklisted by the Elders of the vDiva council, but VCE doesn’t exist to make your life in the datacenter easier, they exist to sell you more VMware, Cisco and EMC. Vblock for sure simplifies your buying experience. I believe they are all great products and may very well do just what you need. Without competition though the only winner is VCE. Do not by forced into a box by the giant vendors. Find someone that can help determine your end goal, provide you vendor neutral analysis of the building blocks needed to achieve your end goal. Then provide the correct vendors and unified support to Build Your Own Pod.

So What is the Alternative Vblock

Originally I was going to draw up a sweet solution of 3par, Xsigo and Dell R610’s and say, “Hey everyone! This is some cool stuff. Try to quiet the overwhelmingly loud voice calling from VCE and give this Alternative Vblock a try.” As I thought more and more about it I think doing that is contrary to my main point. I would like more to provide the discussion points or some possible products among others that can be used to Build Your Own Pod. I am a firm believer in getting what is right for your datacenter needs. So here is a few links to help begin the discussion.

Xsigo and Pod – Jon Toor
3par and iBlocks – Marc Farley

7 Replies to “B.Y.O.P – The Alternative Vblock”

  1. [Full Disclosure – Cisco/VCE Employee]

    You make a number of very good points in your post.

    – Partner/VAR/Resellers should be helping IT departments align their business problems to the technology they are selling. If they aren’t, there are plenty of excellent partners ready to step in and offer excellent service. This is why vendors require partners to get certified, to help customers know who is committed to bringing knowledge to their customers.

    – The IT field is a better place when there is competition. It offers customers great choice and it forces the vendors to continually innovate.

    – If customers do decide that they want a “stack” or “block” or “pod” or (cue up the marketing music…”solution”), they should also be given choices.

    – We all miss the days of BYOB and BYOM parties in college…:)

    So let’s talk about these in the context of VCE, since that’s one specific offering that you highlight.
    1 – It might sound logically backwards (at first), but VCE partners/resellers are one of the largest initial adopters of Vblock solutions (vs. direct sales or other channels). This is because the bulk of their revenues come from services and less from hardware sales. Vblock allows them a more standardized offering at the infrastructure-layer, so they can focus more of their time on high-touch interactions with the customer. So the partner wins, and the customer should get more time focused on applications and other services that directly touch their business. And there is no additional CAPEX mark-up on Vblock from buying it individually as pieces, so the value-add is passed along to the customers, and the partners are still aligning business needs to technologies.

    2 – I’ve been in the IT industry for 16yrs now, and I can’t remember a time where competition between the vendors was more competitive. VMware/Hyper-V/Xen for virtualization. CiscoUCS/HPMatrix/Dell/IBM for servers. Cisco/HP-3COM/Juniper/Brocade/Arista for networking. EMC/NetApp/HP/IBM/3Par for storage. Everyone of them is focused on virtualizing data centers and building towards clouds. Oh yeah, and customers also now have the option of buying on-demand services from Google/Amazon/MSFT-Azure and others. I’d say that choice is alive and well in 2010.

    3 – Vblock is only one such “stack” offering. But there is also Secure Multi-Tenancy (SMT) from Cisco/VMware/NetApp. There is HP Converged Infrastructure. There is IBM Cloudburst. There is HDS Unified Compute Platform. There are the “pods” you mention above. I’m sure I’m missing some. Again, it sure feels like alot of competition and choice for customers.

    Oh and one more thing, NOBODY, none of the vendors (that I’ve seen), have said that you can no longer build best-of-breed do-it-yourself infrastructure if you’re able to do that and it meets your business needs. And considering all the ancillary partnerships between all the vendors (you name it, they have a partnership), there is almost no risk that your do-it-yourself won’t receive world-class support.

    So considering that we’re going into a Memorial Day weekend, hopefully able to relax and have some fun, I think the IT world can feel safe that BYOPCVCEP (a.k.a. – IT’s BYOB) is still an option for anyone that believes that is the best model to run their business. But considering that not every business thinks that’s the right model anymore, you can expect the vendors (singularly or in partnership) to offer the customers options. And I think we can probably all agree that options are good.

  2. [Full Disclosure – Cisco/VCE Employee]

    You make a number of very good points in your post.

    – Partner/VAR/Resellers should be helping IT departments align their business problems to the technology they are selling. If they aren’t, there are plenty of excellent partners ready to step in and offer excellent service. This is why vendors require partners to get certified, to help customers know who is committed to bringing knowledge to their customers.

    – The IT field is a better place when there is competition. It offers customers great choice and it forces the vendors to continually innovate.

    – If customers do decide that they want a “stack” or “block” or “pod” or (cue up the marketing music…”solution”), they should also be given choices.

    – We all miss the days of BYOB and BYOM parties in college…:)

    So let’s talk about these in the context of VCE, since that’s one specific offering that you highlight.
    1 – It might sound logically backwards (at first), but VCE partners/resellers are one of the largest initial adopters of Vblock solutions (vs. direct sales or other channels). This is because the bulk of their revenues come from services and less from hardware sales. Vblock allows them a more standardized offering at the infrastructure-layer, so they can focus more of their time on high-touch interactions with the customer. So the partner wins, and the customer should get more time focused on applications and other services that directly touch their business. And there is no additional CAPEX mark-up on Vblock from buying it individually as pieces, so the value-add is passed along to the customers, and the partners are still aligning business needs to technologies.

    2 – I’ve been in the IT industry for 16yrs now, and I can’t remember a time where competition between the vendors was more competitive. VMware/Hyper-V/Xen for virtualization. CiscoUCS/HPMatrix/Dell/IBM for servers. Cisco/HP-3COM/Juniper/Brocade/Arista for networking. EMC/NetApp/HP/IBM/3Par for storage. Everyone of them is focused on virtualizing data centers and building towards clouds. Oh yeah, and customers also now have the option of buying on-demand services from Google/Amazon/MSFT-Azure and others. I’d say that choice is alive and well in 2010.

    3 – Vblock is only one such “stack” offering. But there is also Secure Multi-Tenancy (SMT) from Cisco/VMware/NetApp. There is HP Converged Infrastructure. There is IBM Cloudburst. There is HDS Unified Compute Platform. There are the “pods” you mention above. I’m sure I’m missing some. Again, it sure feels like alot of competition and choice for customers.

    Oh and one more thing, NOBODY, none of the vendors (that I’ve seen), have said that you can no longer build best-of-breed do-it-yourself infrastructure if you’re able to do that and it meets your business needs. And considering all the ancillary partnerships between all the vendors (you name it, they have a partnership), there is almost no risk that your do-it-yourself won’t receive world-class support.

    So considering that we’re going into a Memorial Day weekend, hopefully able to relax and have some fun, I think the IT world can feel safe that BYOPCVCEP (a.k.a. – IT’s BYOB) is still an option for anyone that believes that is the best model to run their business. But considering that not every business thinks that’s the right model anymore, you can expect the vendors (singularly or in partnership) to offer the customers options. And I think we can probably all agree that options are good.

  3. @Brian Gracely
    Great comment. I can’t disagree with anything you say. There is a combination of the products existing the world that will help a customers situation. Of course it is in my best interest to keep the discussion going, so customers can see ALL of the options. As for point 2 though, I don’t recall a time when such giant vendors teamed together (doesn’t mean it didn’t happen). I think it is good for everyone to know the alternatives, and at least to me it has been a one sided discussion.

    Once again, thanks for your great comment.

  4. @Brian Gracely
    Great comment. I can’t disagree with anything you say. There is a combination of the products existing the world that will help a customers situation. Of course it is in my best interest to keep the discussion going, so customers can see ALL of the options. As for point 2 though, I don’t recall a time when such giant vendors teamed together (doesn’t mean it didn’t happen). I think it is good for everyone to know the alternatives, and at least to me it has been a one sided discussion.

    Once again, thanks for your great comment.

  5. Yeah you better watch it. We almost lost our VMUG-ship w/ vmware because we made the mistake of inviting somebody to talk about hyper-v. We had to choose where it was a vmware user group or just a user group.

  6. Yeah you better watch it. We almost lost our VMUG-ship w/ vmware because we made the mistake of inviting somebody to talk about hyper-v. We had to choose where it was a vmware user group or just a user group.

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