When I joined VCE two years, the idea of a Converged Infrastructure was still a novel idea in many data centers built on open systems architectures. I spent much of my first year explaining to customers the concept of a Converged Infrastructure and how it could be a tool for IT transformation. Often, I had to use analogies such as kit cars vs. Formula One race cars, to illustrate the difference between build-your-own vs Pre-integrated stacks.
In the past year, I’ve seen more and more competitors adopt the Converged Infrastructure language and building Vblock-like offerings. Although I would argue that VCE still has a substantial lead over competitors like NetApp, HP, IBM, etc., the gap is slowly closing and VCE is being motivated to innovate even more with our engineering of the Vblock. From a messaging standpoint, however, the fact that other infrastructure vendors are talking about the value of Converged infrastructure is a validation of what VCE has pioneered in the opens systems world.
The Value of a True Converged Infrastructure
I have a slide deck I frequently share when I speak with folks for the first time about VCE. It is a slide that allows me to talk about the value of a true Converged Infrastructure, like the Vblock.
Recently, we had an internal e-mail discussion about how we, at VCE, can quantify the true value of the Vblock for our customers and future prospects. That discussion and the points I usually try to make with customers, when I show this slide, is the basis for the value propositions below:
- VCE provides the best customer experience in the world. Our customers are so happy with the experience of consuming Vblocks that 66% of our customers purchase additional systems. Those additional investments are in significantly larger systems because customers often try a Vblock for small projects and have such a great experience that they quickly shift major projects on to the first and other additional Vblocks.
- The Vblock consumption experience has a direct impact to a customer’s IT organization’s total cost of ownership. Many IT budgets are broken out so that 70% is spent maintaining the infrastructure, 20% on software investments, and 10% on hardware investments. Buying inexpensive or highly discounted equipment only affects 10% of most customer’s total IT spend, buying equipment that changes the way they support and maintain infrastructure has immediate impact on 70% of an organization’s spend. This is what the Vblock can do for customers. VCE has customers who have spent a significant sum of money purchasing multiple Vblock systems and realize a return on that investment in only a few months.
- VCE can deliver a fully configured Vblock systems in 45 days, from time of order. VCE hits that metric 98% of the time.
- The Vblocks are usually operational 48 hours after delivery. VCE hits that metric 99% of the time.
- The reason Vblocks can achieve such quick time to value is because VCE don’t just physically build a system; VCE logically builds each Vblock and tests that logical build in our factories. The logical build is customized to meet our customers’ environment. 90% of the Vblocks we sell are different from each other in some way because they are built to meet a customer’s specific requirement, however, 100% of those Vblock systems are based on a foundation of architectural standards.
- Once a Vblock is purchased, VCE’s value continues in the form of full regression testing of every firmware and software that is running on components that are part of the Vblock. The results of that testing is published and made available in the form of a Vblock software matrix; this matrix is updated regularly throughout the life-cycle of a customer’s Vblock. This reduces both the risk and the operational burden associated with infrastructure maintenance.
- This level of engineering and testing directly leads into VCE’s ability to provide a single line of support. Due to the standard nature of Vblocks and associated software, if customers do experience an issue in their environment, recreating that issue in our support lab can happen in a matter of hours, not days or weeks.
- VCE provides single support for Vblocks through our own support organization, utilizing engineers who have been cross trained on the technologies of all our parent companies. VCE engineers also have direct lines of contact with the Engineering organizations of all our parent companies. VCE’s support systems is linked to the support system of all our parent companies, allowing easy tracking and quick resolution of issues.
This is just a sampling of the value that can be provided by a true Converged Infrastructure. As you may expect, I am very proud of what we have built at VCE and the transformation we have helped to bring to our customers. I also realize that the value propositions I have outlined are ones you should expect from any vendor that claims to deliver a true Converged Infrastructure system, including our competitors. The question I would raise is this – are these value propositions truly being delivered by your infrastructure vendor?
- If It’s About Solutions, Then What Is The Problem? (varchitectmusings.com)
- An Update From My Friends At VCE (chucksblog.emc.com)
- More From VCE At Cisco Live 2012 (chucksblog.emc.com)
- Very cool time-lapse Vblock construction video (virtualgeek.typepad.com)
- My Other Computer is a Vblock! (blogs.cisco.com)