The SimpliVity team just returned from Cisco Live in Las Vegas last week. We had a lot of great conversations with customers and partners. Interest and adoption of hyperconverged infrastructure is ramping quickly. Probably the highlight of the event was our “Cocktails and Conversations” gathering, where a local SimpliVity customer from the utility industry shared their experiences moving forward with hyperconverged infrastructure. The gathering started with some Q&A that I moderated. One of the most interesting questions asked at the event was, “What advice would you give to IT teams considering a move to hyperconverged infrastructure?” The answer given was honest and heartfelt. Our customer shared, “I’m an EMC guy, but don’t be scared to try hyperconverged infrastructure out.”
It is often still the dynamic that many companies prefer to buy products from traditional IT infrastructure vendors. This is the classic adage that “No one ever got fired for buying from IBM.” These established veterans of infrastructure have long-standing relationships with customers and are often perceived as a safer choice because they are the “people you know.”
But, as the IT infrastructure industry is changing, we have to ask ourselves if that assumption is still true. Are these large established vendors really less risky when it comes to hyperconverged infrastructure? Hyperconvergence itself is a relatively new concept and the “people you know” have all taken similar routes to their eventual acceptance of hyperconvergence as a mainstream data center solution. First, the large vendors tried to ignore the technology and they dismissed it as a fad that would eventually pass. Then, when they realized that hyperconvergence couldn’t be dismissed, they presented the technology as a niche play, appropriate only for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and remote office and branch offices (ROBOs) use cases. Finally, came the final stage: acceptance. The large vendors realized that hyperconverged infrastructure is gaining great market traction and potential and decided to make their own hyperconverged solutions available. But is it too little, too late?
SimpliVity has a big head-start on the established infrastructure vendors that were late to the hyperconvergence game. SimpliVity spent 43 months in development, twice as long as any other competitor, crafting an enterprise-grade solution that delivers all IT infrastructure and data services for mission-critical virtualized workloads. With such a substantial lead and long development time compared to the large vendors, it seems the “people you know” may have to cut corners to get their solutions to market or risk losing business. Or in some cases, they offer a veritable smorgasbord of converged and hyperconverged solutions (“Yes, we have blocks, racks, and appliances”) to mask the fact that they have done little in the way of true product innovation.
These established veterans have seemingly all the resources and capital they would need to get into the hyperconverged market quickly and find some level of success. However, these large vendors are increasingly looking less and less like they did just five years ago, if not on the surface, then definitely just underneath it. The “people you know,” including the stalwart of the storage industry, are splitting their businesses, undergoing an acquisition by another legacy vendor, “going private,” and undertaking billions of dollars in debt. To pay off these debts, these large incumbent vendors will likely have to streamline their product portfolios and even discontinue development of certain product lines. The IT industry is changing, and changing fast, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, and up-and-coming technologies are becoming increasingly recognized by the market as trustworthy and they’re starting to bring the IT industry towards the inevitable replacement of legacy infrastructure.
The “people you know” are quickly disappearing and SimpliVity is leading the charge to release end-users from unnecessary data center complexity and inefficiency. SimpliVity is the only company that converges all IT infrastructure for virtualized workloads while delivering enterprise-grade performance, protection, and resiliency along with economics that rival the public cloud. As the IT infrastructure industry continues to change, it will be interesting to see how public perception evolves along with it.