We knew this moment would come.

According to William Blair, a British broker, their data networking and storage tracker (as quoted by the most excellent Chris Mellor in The Reg) sees that

Despite Cisco’s public commentary about not wanting to leverage its Whiptail acquisition (renamed Invicta) as a stand-alone enterprise storage system, our industry contacts indicate that the Cisco salesforce is enthusiastically selling the all-flash-array as a stand-alone platform and competing directly against vendors such as Pure and EMC/XtremIO in the field.

Cisco is also bundling the platform with its UCS server line as a converged infrastructure play. Over time, we expect Cisco to attempt to displace both EMC/Vblock and NetApp/Flexpod deployments with its UCS/Whiptail converged offering as the company aims to address new markets and find growth.

Color me not surprised.

The StorageMojo take
Cisco’s UCS never made sense – due to low server margins – unless they also went into storage, where the margins recall mainframe days of yore. Many expected Cisco to buy NetApp or EMC 5 or 6 years ago, but no, they went with UCS and VCE.

Now they’re decoupling from VCE. Cisco corporate will likely deny this for some time, but the proof is in the sales force compensation. If Cisco sales gets bigger commissions selling Whiptail then all the corporate mellow-tone is background music for the VCE wake.

When I worked for EMC’s largest reseller 15 years ago I saw how deftly this worked. Corporate laid out very neat and clear guidelines for their sales and our sales. Except when their sales ignored the guidelines two things happened: EMC wouldn’t return our calls; and then they’d explain that the local offices had a lot of latitude and what could they do?

Looks like EMC is going to get a taste of their own medicine – and not a moment too soon.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. Cisco is hardly a classic underdog, but I’m rooting for them. What do you think?