In discussion with Joe Tucci this week at EMC world, Joe stated that he saw two camps taking shape with regard to cloud solutions development: The Virtualization Camp and The Verticalization Camp. Tucci and EMC are clearly in The Virtualization Camp, and I agree with them in that this is the wave of the future. Virtualization, from servers to networks to storage is here and the future looks very bright indeed for solutions that will make IT operations easier and more cost efficient.
The Virtualization Camp sees horizontal integration and vertical market stacks, bringing virtualized infrastructure solution across industries and helping business IT operations lower OPEX costs and ultimately lower CAPEX over time. By automating server, network and storage operations there will be tremendous savings realized. EMC and its partners and customers are just starting to visualize these saving with solutions such as vBlock and the newly announced VPLEX, which has been availabile since April of this year. The Virtualization Camp vendors include such notables as EMC, Cisco, Dell, Brocade, QLogic and VMware.
Conversely, The Verticalization Camp may continue to build multiple, unique stacks of vertically integrated solutions for specific industry segments. This, of course, is not a terribly bad idea; however, its implementation stands to be limited and hampered by not being able to bring integrated solutions at a cost-effective price to global businesses that are virtualizing IT at a rapid pace. Vertical Camp stack solutions include one-off server, network and traditional storage solutions that are bundled and don't scale well horizontally across multiple global industries. Arguably, some examples of solution providers in this camp include HDS, HP, Oracle/Sun and to a much lesser extent, IBM. In my opinion, IBM is moving rapidly toward The Virtualization Camp with its own brand of sever, network and storage solutions, and the faster the better.
Certainly, there will be challenges for each camp. The Virtualization Camp will have to consistently assure cohesive and growing partnerships with co-develoment efforts, along with sales characteristics that do not bombard the user, and adoption must be carefully characterized and use case studies built and advertised so that users gain confidence in the approach. The Verticalization Camp will need to assure it completes the plethora of testing across vast amounts of vertical markets, as well take care to also not bombard the user with too many sales voices with varying messages. Adoption use-case studies here are just as important.
Which approach will win? In the end, the approach that will be easiest and least costly to deploy and maintain will win out over the more complex and costly initiative. At this time, and based on the past history lessons, a horizontal approach that is well organized and easy to deploy will quickly take the lead. Follow updates from EMC World on Twitter @itstorage