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March 20, 2009


John Webster


I tuned in yesterday. Good discussion and good to see you put some contentious issues on the table. Here's one that I think needs some more "color" however.

You've written here about the coming architectural wars with regard to the data center fabric of the future. Beyond architecture there could also be an organizational conflict on the horizon that was touched on during the discussion. As the panel members rightly I think pointed out, the virtualized, unified data center of the future will be managed differently. The more or less traditional server/network/storage infrastructure management silos will likely collapse and a new management structure will eventually emerge. IMHO, this will not come about without varying degrees of conflict within the IT operations group. For me, the only questions are: 1) how soon? and, 2) whether or not change is forced from the top-down i.e. from CIO to operations staff, or change is allowed to emerge from within the IT operations group.

It is also clear to me that Cisco is taking a top-down approach in selling the DCF vision at the CIO level. Indeed, I believe I heard Doug Gourlay say yesterday that to get maximum benefit from DCF, IT operations had to reorganize. On the other hand, at least one of Cisco's competitors is going in at the operations staff level with a more conciliatory approach.

My question to you is this: Where does EMC stand on this IT operations reorg issue when it comes to the virtualized, unified data center?

John Webster

Chuck Hollis

Hi John -- great question.

I think the answer is "tell the truth, but acknowledge reality". EMC agrees with Cisco on the end-state optimal management model -- as evidenced by all the work we've done with the Smarts, Voyence, Infra etc. products. All presume a rather network-centric view of service provision and management.

That being said, there will be plenty of shops that will remain in the silo (er, "cylinders of excellence") approach -- storage people, server people, security people, etc.

So, we're trying to straddle both worlds by provided discipline-specific management frameworks (security and storage, for example), but make sure those tools can snap into a broader framework that has a more end-to-end view along Cisco's lines.

Finally, we think this shift in thinking will happen first and foremost in service providers and telcos -- as a matter of fact, they're almost there, thinking-wise -- and as such may be able to provide better managed IT services than their traditional IT counterparts as a result.

Should be interesting to watch in all evolve!

-- Chuck

John Webster


Great answer. More than enough to get the synapses firing this morning.



This was a great event. It played nicely with the VMware "Evolving to Cloud" presentation I had arranged for at our VMUG meeting last week. I am hoping see more of these thought provoking roundtables in the future.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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