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Cisco, EMC data center coalition feels on solid ground

Jim Duffy | Feb. 28, 2013
There's been a lot of speculation on what the future holds for VCE, the converged data center infrastructure coalition formed by Cisco, EMC and VMware, in light of recent maneuvers by those companies to become more competitive and less reliant on each other in the marketplace, and with the advent of software-defined networking.

Do you see much concern or discussion among your customers about the fact that VCE is an alliance of three companies whose individual interests might diverge over time? In other words, do customers ask about the longevity or long-term viability of the VCE alliance?

Akkiraju: We are delivering on our business financial goals and objectives for Cisco and EMC. We are helping execute on Cisco's data center strategy and EMC's data center strategy by accelerating adoption of their technologies into accounts they may not have been able to break into themselves just selling individual components. We are strategic for Cisco and EMC because the combinations we are enabling ... we are talking about how you fundamentally transform the data center. This is a conversation that allows Cisco and EMC to engage at a different level through us. We are adding value on top of what Cisco and EMC are delivering with their products. There's a technical innovation and value add that we provide back into Cisco and EMC. We have their 100% support. I have had both (Cisco CEO) John (Chambers) and (EMC CEO) Joe (Tucci) on customer calls with me, as required, when the customer needed to hear from them directly on any aspect of the relationship. We absolutely have full support from the executive teams at both Cisco and EMC.

The relationship, as with any other in the industry, will have areas where there are sources of competition, but in the case of VCE we represent a unique route to market for all three companies. Most importantly, we are delivering on our financial business commitments and results; and have been executing the strategy that Cisco and EMC have. We never really have an issue of this being an inhibitor of sales. Sixty-five percent of customers come back to buy more Vblocks after the first or second Vblock. That's a true testament of what we've been able to deliver. And it demonstrates the disconnect between the narrative and the noise, and what customers actually receive as a value from VCE.

What we deliver stands on its own merits in terms of technology capabilities. If we are unable to make the case that we don't have a best of breed product they might choose to go down (an alternative) path. What customers care most about is whether we can deliver value in the data center. We have not seen customers back away from VCE because of the noise out in the marketplace or perceived competition within VCE. Cisco and EMC stand firmly behind us in partnership and commitment. This has really not been an issue the way the customer sees it. We see a disconnect between (what's reported in the press) and the way customers make decisions based on our ability to deliver, Cisco and EMC's commitment, and the value that we can actually provide to them.


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