I’ve been accused of being a conspiracy theorist, and I’m sure this post won’t do anything to dispel that perception. I’m talking VMware’s EVO platform and the missing partnership between Cisco and HP. I’m sure that there is a reason beyond technology why two of VMware’s largest server hardware partners have decided to take a pass on the EVO hyper-converged platform. I don’t know how much of this post will be conspiracy, but I’m for sure a theorist. I get paid to not only look at technology solutions but also understand the motives of the vendors in the overall technology market. Taking a look at the market motivators helps IT organizations fully understand their investment in any vendor’s technology.
While watching the VMware EVO hyper-converged announcement at VMworld 2014, the first thing I asked myself was, “Where’s HP and Cisco?” HP, Dell and Cisco are VMware’s largest server partners. I found it hard to believe that VMware didn’t approach all 3 with an opportunity to participant in the EVO platform. I walked away suspicious. There had to be a business driver for HP and Cisco not wanting to leverage an ecosystem that could be used to battle the likes of Nutanix.
Cisco announced their new M4 cartridge based UCS platform on September 4th. Overall the new Cisco hardware is extremely interesting but more important than the hardware platform is the new features of UCS Director. UCS Director has moved from a server management platform to a data center management tool. Cisco announced tight integration with ACI and the ability to manage “external” cloud workloads.
The new UCS features put Cisco in direct competition with VMware’s SDDC vision. If an organization is willing to take the hardware-centric approach then Cisco UCS Director coupled with ACI gives the Cisco hardware-centric data center some of the same options as the VMware software-based solution.
Looking at the VMware EVO partners, there isn’t a vendor in the mix with a complete or at least competitive data center management strategy. My theory is that these businesses are not directly threatened by VMware’s EVO or overall data center strategy. EVO is a major back door into managing the complete data center stack. It pushes hardware further down the food data center food chain. Cisco and HP, on the other hand, have their sights set on the complete management of the enterprise data center.
I’m assured by some of my contacts within EMC and VMware that I’m far off and it’s simply a case of Cisco and VMware not having the right platforms for EVO Rack/RAIL.
While there’s no “conspiracy,” there is a solid business strategy involved with either Cisco or HP not embracing VMware’s EVO platform. We’ll see how this plays out in the market in the coming months. If EVO see success in the market, the response from HP and Cisco will be interesting.
Evidently, this was one that I over thought. At least on the HP side. HP and VMware announced HP EVO:Rail at VMworld 2014 Europe. So there’s that.