Top VCE exec: We’re staying tight with Cisco

EMC’s converged infrastructure division is single largest Cisco UCS customer in the world, VCE President says

chad sakac

There was an interesting exchange between IDG Chief Content Officer John Gallant and VCE President Chad Sakac in an interview Network World published today. In it, Gallant asked Sakac about the company’s converged infrastructure partnership with Cisco in light of VCE presumably soon becoming part of the merged Dell/EMC. After all, Cisco (the “C” in VCE) sold off its stake in the venture some time ago and will likely find itself competing more directly with EMC once it combines with Dell.

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 The question:What if at some point Cisco changes direction?”

Is there a risk of that? The short answer is no, period, end of sentence. Let me explain,” Sakac said. “The first thing that’s important to understand is actually rooted in this idea of what are certified systems or reference architectures relative to a converged system? In a converged system, the entirety of the system is bought, assembled, designed, supported and lifecycled through a single entity. A reference architecture is where different componentry is brought together and assembled through distributors or resellers and then delivered as a combined set of parts to the customer. The real litmus test is what happens six months from now when there needs to be an update? Who will you turn to? In a converged system the answer would be VCE. In referenced architecture it would be Cisco, NetApp and whomever.”

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Some other interesting tidbits from the Sakac interview referencing Cisco included:

  • “Not only do we have a great partnership with Cisco, not only do we have strategic alignment but very importantly, VCE, as a part of EMC and ultimately of Dell, is the single largest UCS customer in the world.”
  • “We buy Cisco componentry, it goes into a factory and out the door comes Vblock and VxBlock products that we own and support. Let’s just say hypothetically Cisco says -- Forget it, I want to do something different and we want to compete directly. Do you think that they would say no to their single largest customer for all of UCS? It seems unlikely. And we would continue to go down that path regardless of what Cisco chooses to do. In other words, the risk is nonexistent because this is really an OEM structure.”
  • “Above and beyond that, we have a partnership, we have alignment, we have more customers than anywhere else and, by the way, that business is growing like gangbusters. Those are all reinforcing points but the main thing is that the business structure means that we have responsibility for the customer. They’re an OEM supplier to us. We have longstanding support agreements and buying models that will allow us to continue to operate that model no matter what.”
  • “What we’ve stated is that the converged platform business of the combined entity would continue to partner with Cisco as the core technology ingredient inside Vblock and VxBlock.”
  • “The reason for that is pretty simple and straightforward: Customers are voting with their feet and they like that system design. The second thing is we’re going to continue to use Cisco universally as the networking componentry inside our hyperconverged portfolios. We’ve stated that publicly and customers can move forward with confidence knowing that in the future that’s not going to change.”

For a complete read of this interview go here.

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