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?
EMC and NetApp are both in trouble as the converged and truly hyper converged (Nutanix, Simplivity, Scale etc.) continue to chew up sales. Of the ‘big 5’ those two are stuck hoping partners do not do unto them as Cisco hath done with Whiptail.
IBM has the weakest ‘converged’ all-in-one with rolled up management offering, but at least it is all more or less from one vendor and somewhat integrated.
HP has arguably the best ‘general’ fundamental storage architecture in 3PAR along with good enterprise servers and acceptable networking. The management lashup of it all is still rough, but will certainly improve and is good enough for many right now. Unfortunately it is from HP and that is almost as painful as if it were from IBM though NOWHERE near as painful as being from EMC.
Which brings us to the company that gets far fewer headlines: HDS. The ‘mini-VSP’ aka HUS VM is a fantastic bit of kit for a wide range of workloads and use cases. The compute blades part of their unified compute platform are as enterprise worthy as anything from IBM, HP or Dell in addition to offering LPARs on x86! For networking Brocade for FC is still preferable to Cisco IMHO and Foundry for 10GigE is also enterprise worthy. However, the thing that makes it actually interesting is actually unexpected, especially by those who had ever brushed up against HDS software in the past. The abstracted management for the whole thing is actually good. Yeah, I know sounds unlikely, but folks owe it to themselves to take a look. Now, if only they can sell it…
Given that IBM OEM’s their blades from HDS… I would hope they’re just as good.
I agree with you that the HUS-VM and UCP offering is powerful and if I was looking for traditional converged is a far better solution that vBlock.
That said, the hyperconverged (VSAN being my favorite as I like my software decoupled from hardware) I view as a powerful disruptor in this space.
Cisco had to get into servers, because everyone else was getting into networking more seriously. Like HDS, and Brocade your days are numbered if you don’t own the dirrect sales relationship.
Also Kevin is spot on about 10Gbps Foundry being a great option. We Lead with Brocade/Foundry for Networking and Fabrics, with Cisco being our primary server partner as strange as that may seem to some people.