« The VCE Coalition: Redrawing The Landscape | Main | Is 2010 The Year Of Widespread Desktop Virtualization? »

November 06, 2009


Cloud and more cloud

Hey Chuck,

Great article, sounds like you have really convinced yourself that VBlocks is the way forward.

I have been into a presentation of every major storage vendor joined with cisco and VMware and guess what. They all talk about how their strategies align. The storage is interchangeable in any cloud architecture. The Key criteria is around a proven methodology around Service Management.

I personally think to the common IT person,The company with the biggest marketing bucket will have a sizeable advantage as people tend to take alot of marketing propaganda seriously at face value. However, to the more astute Architect they will see VBlocks as another rehash from EMC in an attempt to mask its poor integration across its product lines by touting partnership with the 2 biggest players in virtualisation and networking.

Nexus and VMware will sell itself regardless of whichever vendor they are tied to from a storage perspective.

Chuck Hollis

Hi "Cloud and more cloud"

Thanks for dropping by. I saw more than a few misconceptions in your post, so I thought I'd try and help out a bit.

First, EMC is bringing far more than storage to this picture, since we're far more than a storage company.

That incremental list includes information management (backup, replication, archiving, etc.), infrastructure management (EMC Ionix) as well as security (RSA). All are part of Vblock.

Many posts on this topic in this blog, you might want to read them

We could debate the appropriateness of traditional block and file storage architectures vs. newer object models in relation to cloud architectures, but I've already done that at length.

Many posts on this topic in this blog, you might want to read them.

I'd agree with you that one of the key ingredients of any cloud-like thing is proven (and advanced) methodology around service management. I'd call it "next gen operational model", but we're saying the same thing.

Many posts on this topic in this blog, you might want to read them.

Your slam that Vblock is nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors is probably ignorance on your part. That's OK, it's relatively new. Give it some time, you'll start to see what we collectively did here.

BTW, I always advise people not to diss what they don't understand.

There's much more than marketing at work here.

Sure, IT architects can assemble any technology in the marketplace and make it work to a certain degree. That model has been in place for a very long time.

But the people who pay their bills are starting to question the value and efficacy of what many of them do.

I know. I talk to them all the time.

And if you're in the business of being an IT architect, time to start figuring out if you're really adding value by mashing together different technologies, or just creating an operational mess.

You're right on some points, though: Nexus and VMware will them themselves, as does UCS. Same can be said for EMC's technology as well.

And, if you happen to like those three vendors, you've now got a new way to implement and use the technology -- one that you didn't have before.

And if you think you can continue to deliver better business value for your employer by mixing and matching various technologies, more power to you.

Thanks for writing.

-- Chuck

Cloud and more cloud

Thanks for the compliment Chuck, Im sure all your readers will enjoy the fact you call people who make comment ignorant.

So maybe i should explain myself a little bit more.

You talk about the integration between EMC,VMware and Cisco with Vblocks so ill keep this fairly simple for all

Can you please confirm for some questions that i have
Vblocks 0 uses Celerra from what i can see so
- Does this mean you need to use Celerra's interface plus the CX console to manage the provisioning of storage
- What Products are included for application consistant snapshops
- What tool is used for DR
- how is Multi Tenancy achieved at the storage level
- Will VCE be providing documented methodology for implementation to its customers

look forward to your thoughts

Chuck Hollis

Hi "Cloud and more cloud"

I said that one of your observations was probably based on ignorance, as the announcement is relatively new. "Ignorance" simply means you don't know the facts, which was pretty clear from your comments.

The term is not intended as an insult, just an observation. If you don't want to be thought of as ignorant, perhaps you should restrain your more pointed comments to topics where you know the facts.

BTW, you wouldn't be affiliated with NetApp, would you? Your questions, tone and terminology would make a strong case for that observation.

Also, please be aware I've had about a half-dozen NetApp employees masquerade as customers -- something I find completely unethical.

Your answers:

1. Vblock 0 uses Celerra, Vblock 1 uses CLARiiON, Vblock 2 uses V-Max. Provisioning for all may be done using traditional tools (not recommended), or through the new integrated template-based models being used by all three vendors. EMC Ionix UIM is another option (full details coming soon on that one).

3. The snap mechanisms are the same as found on both vSphere and the Celerra, so the application consistency stories are exactly the same (varies by application, as you know). In larger environments, EMC' "congroup" function can be used to ensure inter-application consistency dependencies if needed.

4. For some strange reason, multi-tenancy is something NetApp tries to make a lot of noise about. e.g. take one small issue and try to make it a Really Big Deal. Not only that, their "solution" to this narrow focus is very weak sauce, IMHO.

In the EMC world, there are a number of multi-tenancy mechanisms to choose from which are a superset of the NetApp-provided options, including host- and app-level encryption if needed -- very strong sauce, indeed.

For customers *really* concerned about security (beyond the multi-tenancy buzzword!), there's the entire RSA portfolio we can bring to bear, including DLP, SEIM and the ability to pass the most stringent audit. More than can be covered in a comment reply, probably worth an extended post or two on this subject alone.

5. Documentation? Of course. Buy the package (i.e. Vblock) or build it yourself as you wish.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions.

-- Chuck



I have read and appreciated your blogs for a long time. It has helped me, as a company owner, to clarify many thoughts with regards to technology and future direction.

I will declare upfront that our buisness has developed a 'go-to-market' strategy based on EMC and VMware. However, these technology partners have been chosen ONLY after considerable due dilligence has been given to all appropriate technology choices.

While we can debate ad nauseum about the 'speeds and feeds' provided by different vendor products, I believe this misses the point - completey!

We work with, and will continue to work with EMC so long as they continue to deliver an integrated solution across an entire stack - not just a disk subsystem.

Our success, IMHO, has been based around the elimination of RISK, both for our customers and ourselves as the integrator. EMC's tight integration of new technologies has allowed us to expand our offerings beyond the 'simple spinning stuff' and provided significant differentiation in the process.

I, for one, am excited by the opportunity to review the Vblock architecture. The idea of a fully tested and certified blueprint will enable us to consider a market space that would otherwise have proven to costly and risky for a company of our size.


Chuck Hollis


Thank you so much for writing and sharing your thoughts. And if our VCE work between the three companies can help you target larger and more complex opportunities with confidence, we've done well indeed for our partners.

You've made me really smile today, so thank you!

-- Chuck



I found myself enjoying your posts this evening and then noticed the now obligatory netapp tirades that always seem to end up in your comments area. I don’t think Dave Hitz would think highly of ntap employees posting this dribble as it only makes ntap look pathetic. The annoying part is you are forced to respond thoughtfully which I'm sorry to say is a complete waste of your time. Perhaps I should just avoid reading the comments area from now…
It seems like anytime you have something cool or positive to say, we end up with mislead ntap folks reacting to your articles with misplaced and completely out of context storage vs. storage bake off sales playbook tactics, circa 2001. Not only are they confused about our technology and vision, it's clear they have very little understanding of what VCE is all about.
I've actually found myself feeling sorry for ntap a bit lately. They are very flat footed and spend more time trying to poke holes in EMC and the VCE vision than they do on innovating and evolving their own nas filer technology into something relavent in this day in age.



Whilst i "sort of agree" with the comment you put at the top of this post - "no real debate that Intel-based architectures are preferred going forward, less interest in legacy RISC processors (i.e. SPARC, PowerPC, etc.). Also general agreement that running on legacy UNIXes will have to go somewhere else before too long"

I am not sure that it can be easily brushed aside as a trivial issue.

You look at typical banking environments and today SPARC still dominates most of the datacentre space - this will change over time, agreed - but its a long way out there - so then onto the next question this raises - support & headcount...

If you truly want to follow this model, people time needs to be invested and until legacy infrastructure is out of the equation - then you will actually get a rise in costs (due to more people) looking after both vblock and legacy... I am not sure people have the appetite for this rise in cost with the current financial climate...(and this doesnt even start to tackle the politics of people working in technology silos today - and this piece of tech rocks up and has to work across the horizontal)

and then finally... the big one... lots and lots of systems run oracle...This should be an ideal play for VCE infra but...until such time that vendors can start playing nicely, and we can start running oracle on vblock thats a whole heap of infrastructure that needs to run somewhere else (cue not immediate death of sparc after all)....

so back to the comment of "Also general agreement that workloads running on legacy UNIXes will have to go somewhere else before too long." - not so sure - if you are an oracle house!

Thanks for reading,


Chuck Hollis


You bring up good points.

You're right, as we look at today's data centers, we find enormous amounts of legacy, and that won't go away anytime soon.

In my dealings with larger IT organizations, the "people bubble" concerns you raise don't really come up. I'm guessing it's a mix of factors, including (a) the need to get to a better capex/opex model even if costs increase temporarily and (b) skilled people who can be cross-trained and take on more work.

The headcount-to-VM ratios we're seeing in some environments are eye-popping: one customer spoke of 1000-to-1 all in -- server, network, storage, backup, etc. Don't know if everyone can achieve that, but just the potential is enormous.

Regarding Oracle's rather unfriendly stance on VMware, it doesn't seem to be having any material impact. The larger shops (EMC included) are pressing ahead with virtualizing Oracle anyway. Funny, all sorts of other outfits are now jumping into the business of providing Oracle support on VMware that Oracle prefers not to take.

Indeed, one of the most pronounced use cases for Vblocks that I've seen is -- yes -- Oracle! All the test-and-dev, query activity, even good-sized production instances. The capex/opex saving are so pronounced that many IT people say "screw them, this is what we're doing".

I like that attitude!

Thanks for writing.

-- Chuck

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.
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

General Housekeeping

  • Frequency of Updates
    I try and write something new 1-2 times per week; less if I'm travelling, more if I'm in the office. Hopefully you'll find the frequency about right!
  • Comments and Feedback
    All courteous comments welcome. TypePad occasionally puts comments into the spam folder, but I'll fish them out. Thanks!