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Data centre directions 2014 roundtable: Reinvention and renewal

Jennifer O'Brien | Feb. 11, 2014
A group of select attendees gathered at an exclusive roundtable lunch to discuss data centre predictions for 2014 – with a key focus on the software-defined data centres promise and vision.

JO: Are customers skilled up in the SDDC arena, and are we seeing real-world implementations of it?
AS: We're on a journey. Our customers have been on this journey for some time and our partners have been joining us. We have customers today who have done the compute side and now they're really getting involved in the network and the storage piece. From our perspective, we're seeing a lot of the uptake and success is the management and automation layer.

The next biggest uptake we see is around visibility. How do I know that this application actually needs the eight CPUs and the 64 gig of RAM that I gave it? Chances are it doesn't. If I can give that back to my infrastructure and use it for an application that does genuinely require it — this is just one of those capabilities that we see in our management piece that gives you that visibility to be able to do that. So we see a lot of success there.

JO: Are resellers skilling up in the SDDC in this area?
JD: What we're doing is we're fundamentally talking about how we rearchitect the entire infrastructure of the datacentre again. Granted, when you start looking at the virtualisation, and the network layer, that's a complex task. Fundamentally datacentres have been built on very specific construct. And we're looking to create a much more agile approach to how that's put together. And that can be a complex thing and it can be quite a challenging thing as well. So we're under no misapprehensions about the level of enablement that will need to occur throughout the partner community. Because one thing that we keep very near and dear to our hearts is ensuring that the partner community is front and centre in delivering the boom of this technology.

In just about every single case the partner community's been responsible for the architecture and development and the building, implementation, the management to these datacentres with their customers. We need them to be at the forefront of how we start to transform this infrastructure as well. We always call this sort of stuff the journey, and it absolutely is. It extends the journey that we kicked off around infrastructure, virtualisation, the creation of private and public and hybrid Clouds into now the software defined datacentre virtualising additional layers, that's going to require an ongoing effort from VMware and other vendors insuring that partners remain front and centre and have the appropriate skills to do it. This will take a while.

JO: Is a new type of partner coming to the table?
JD: Any partner that has a good understanding of the intellectual property of the customers that they're trying to sell to or manage can call themselves what they want. I just need to insure that they have the appropriate skill levels. Historically, software companies have tried to engage partnerships with organisations where they become automatic extensions of their own sales force, their own technical force. Meaning whatever we say goes and you have to pony up and do exactly the same thing and here are all the competencies you have to do. We've moved beyond that. We understand that it's a little bit more complex and a little bit more nuanced. Certain partners will have skills in some areas and other partners will have skills in different areas. It becomes a much more community approach to how we architect and solve some of these problems. I don't think any software/hardware vendor trying to force their own view of the world down the throat of a partner is going to be terribly successful. As vendors, we might compete on certain technologies but we've all got a responsibility to present a common view about how this is going to work. It becomes more and more important.


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