EMC Federation Announces Updated/New Hybrid Cloud Solutions

By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc.  September 2, 2015

At VMworld, EMC previewed updates to its Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution and announced a new Federation End-User Computing solution. Both leverage integrated hardware, software and services from EMC Information Infrastructure (EMC II), VMware and VCE, are designed to unite the strengths of private and public cloud, and enable the self-service provisioning of applications and resources according to policy-driven service levels.

According to EMC, the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is a one-of-a-kind engineered solution that can be deployed in as little as 28 days. Enhancements demonstrated at VMworld 2015 include:

  • new VMware features, including improved network and security services, increased scalability and ability to perform non-disruptive live migration of workloads;
  • new deployment options with VCE VxRack System – offering a new hyper-converged infrastructure designed to help accelerate hybrid cloud deployment and reduce infrastructure cost for tier 2 workloads;
  • self-service modification of data protection and security services, such as continuous availability, disaster recovery, backup and encryption;
  • support for XtremIO all-flash arrays, including optional consolidation of mixed workloads; and
  • continuous application development integration and deployment of new services on VMware vSphere, VMware Integrated OpenStack products and in OpenStack environments.

The new Federation End-User Computing solution is designed to eliminate the complexity of delivering desktops and applications scaling from hundreds to thousands of end users. The initial solution will include all the integrated data center hardware and software needed to enable secure, anytime, anywhere access to virtual desktops, applications and end-user data, all with EMC and VMware Professional Installation Services and single call support. Customers will have a choice of deployment options to support nearly any IT strategy.

The storage infrastructure behind the Federation End-User Computing solution will be optimized for virtual desktop images to reside on EMC XtremIO and end-user data to reside on EMC VNX and EMC Isilon storage. The solution will include VMware Horizon, along with a self-service catalog, IT automation and user experience monitoring, enabling IT agility and driving higher levels of user satisfaction.

The pitch

EMC’s Federation sharpens its strategic and practical focus on hybrid cloud and VDI solutions.

Final analysis

EMC has long been one of the least conventional vendors in technology, operating for years as a “federation” of largely autonomous individual businesses. This is starkly different than the monolithic organizational approach preferred by virtually all the company’s competitors, but EMC pursued its model for both practical and strategic reasons.

Doing so has allowed the company to emphasize the independence of businesses like VMware, RSA and Pivotal to deliver agnostic solutions and services to a wide variety of markets and even to collaborate with companies that compete with EMC. The Federation model has also provided those businesses the space to grow organically and to profit from talented, independent leaders, including Pat Gelsinger (now VMware’s CEO), Paul Maritz (formerly CEO of VMware and Pivotal) and Art Coviello (formerly president of RSA).

But the decision last year to bring VCE (originally formed as a partnership between EMC, Cisco and VMware) fully under the Federation umbrella provided an interesting opportunity for EMC to flex its federated muscles. These updated and new hybrid cloud solutions are proof of that.

VCE’s contributions to this process (discussed elsewhere in this newsletter) are especially important. In essence, the company has become a leading light in the converged and hyperconverged systems space by developing solutions that are optimally integrated with and take full advantage of their hardware, software and virtualization components. But VCE’s finished solutions are also manufactured, delivered and deployed far more quickly than most competing products.

Those points all strengthen the value proposition of the updated Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solutions. But the new Federation End-User Computing solution finds the company following an interesting path to end user computing and VDI. If you look at competing offerings in this space, most place a particular emphasis on the endpoints that the infrastructure supports, including those same vendors’ thin client and zero client devices.

In stark contrast, the new Federation End-User Computing offering is purely a data center play—essentially a highly-optimized VDI in a box that can be built to scale, centrally and securely managed, and easily expanded to meet the future needs of growing organizations. Endpoints aren’t even mentioned because the Federation’s central goal is to normalize end user experiences, in regards to applications and processes, and access to content and documents no matter what devices they use—smart phones, tablets, laptop and/or desktop PC, workstations, thin/zero clients and on and on.

That is a notably different strategy than other vendors are pursuing, but one that is deeply cognizant of the changing ways that people work, the proliferation of policies like BYOD and the growing multiplicity of endpoint devices that is so common in daily life.

For years now, EMC has followed its own path in ways that have affected the solutions it creates, the assets it acquires, the people it employs and the way the company is organized. These latest EMC Federation solutions suggest that the company isn’t done thinking and acting in ways that are essentially different than its competitors. That is likely to turn out well for EMC and, as has long been the case, for its customers and partners.

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