Unified Infrastructure Scales Out

By Kent Christensen
4/13/2012

EMC recently launched (with the support of technology partners and distributors) VSPEX, a reference architecture that will initially include 14 validated designs comprising EMC VNX or VNXe storage and EMC backup solutions, as well as virtualization management, servers, and networking. We see this as a great announcement and move on EMC’s part. VSPEX allows customers to build flexible, unified infrastructures to support virtual data center or private cloud initiatives. Our experience helping customers migrate to a virtual data center shows that organizations like the structure of a FlexPod or Vblock-validated design, but want some flexibility to align the infrastructures with their particular needs.

This recent announcement reflects a dramatic shift from EMC’s positioning of Vblock, which is obtained via a very structured development, delivery, and support organization, called VCE. VSPEX circumvents all of that and (per the announcement) can be obtained via distributors and partners, like Datalink. VCE will continue to support very structured enterprise solutions, but VSPEX provides the flexibility to bring virtual data center solutions to the broader market, which is the goal.

This is in fact what Datalink has always done with our own virtual data center reference architecture – V-Scape™. We leverage best-of-breed components from VMware, EMC, NetApp, HDS, Cisco, and others to build unified solutions that align with our customers’ needs. This addresses two main requirements that we see in the market:

  1. A validated design, product SKU, or reference architecture is a good starting point. However, many times customization is necessary to align with the customers’ specific environments. The process is similar to building a home on a solid architectural plan, but customizing it to meet the buyer's preferences.
  2. Organizations don’t always procure the entire solution in a single transaction. Many times they migrate toward a unified architecture as refresh and business needs dictate. For example, if they adopt the concepts of the unified solution but are not ready to refresh all their servers, V-Scape and now, VSPEX, can support that.

In many ways, VSPEX is a validation of the Datalink V-Scape reference architecture approach. In fact, many of the questions raised during the announcement, like who will define the customer’s requirements, who will implement the solution, and who will support the complete multi-vendor solution are addressed by Datalink’s approach to design, delivery, and support of unified solutions from FlexPod, to V-Scape and VSPEX.

Needless to say, Datalink is excited about the announcement to broaden the adoption of virtual data center solutions and is well-positioned to add VSPEX to our portfolio to meet our customers’ needs.