VCE is to start pulling in components from outside Cisco, EMC and VMware in a move it claims will hand customers more choice and widen the sales opportunity for partners.
The converged infrastructure vendor today unveiled its VxBlock family which, unlike its traditional VBlock systems, will not be exclusively tied to using components from its three founding vendors.
Rather than using Cisco ACI, like VBlock, the first VxBlock solution announced today will draw on VMware's NXS software-defined networking functionality.
"This is just the first step to a more flexible approach to the VxBlock being able to pull in different components from what VBlock has done," VCE's EMEA channel director, Jan Lawford (pictured), told CRN.
"The choice [between a VBlock and VxBlock] will always come down to whatever will support the customer's workload and environment in the most efficient way. As we move forward, and different components are brought into the VxBlock family, that flexibility and choice will grow."
VCE draws 50 per cent of its sales from enterprise partners such as Computacenter and SCC, Lawford said. Another 40 per cent comes from service providers and systems integrators who integrate its infrastructure into their own cloud solutions, with the remaining 10 per cent going direct.
Lawford insisted the character of VCE – which now has a revenue run rate of more than $2bn (£1.3bn) and, according to Gartner, is the "clear leader" in converged systems – had not altered since EMC increased its stake to 90 per cent in October.
"From a UCS blade server perspective, we are Cisco's main route to market – we represent about one in four or one in five of every UCS blade that ships," she said. "Cisco remains very much an active investor."
Unlike converged infrastructure reference architectures such as Flexpod or even EMC's VSPEX, VCE makes fully manufactured solutions, which Lawford claimed is a key plus point for partners.
"I think of reference architectures as being like a recipe," she said. "The partner or customer still has to buy each of the components from different vendors and physically build it. In contrast, when we ship a VBlock, it is already completely built and tested. Our time to market from purchase order to datacentre floor is approximately 40 days."
Lawford said VCE is hunting reseller partners that sell to Fortune 5000 companies and are able to have business conversations with C-level executives.
"We have become more selective and targeted on the types of partners we want to focus on as VBlock is really a business proposition," she said.
"My message to the partner base is that converged infrastructure is growing at a tremendous rate and more and more customers are proactively contacting VCE to find out how it can add value to their business. So if a partner organisation is not already investigating the opportunity around converged infrastructure and how it can drive tremendous growth in their business – and enable them to transform the way their customers consume IT – they should be thinking about that."
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