EMC VSPEX: Inbetween cardboard boxes and Vblock

Even though this blog mainly focusses on technical geeky things, it cannot be denied that as infrastructures grow, the deep-down technical details get covered up more and more by the sheer size of things. As customers need to grow their environments more and faster, they have a need to make things decide for themselves, automate more and more. Yesterday you bought boxes and cables. Tomorrow you buy a converged infrastructure like VCE’s Vblock. But what about today? EMC is about to fill that gap…

The Cake Story

To explain the difference between a build-your-own and a Vblock, there is this great story where the parallel is drawn to birthday cakes:

So I needed a cake for my daughters birthday. It had to be a chocolate cake and, as you may have guessed, had to be purple, bling and over the top. So I went to the store to buy me an amazing, over the top, purple, bling chocolate birthday cake.

They had a book, featuring all their cakes. Going through the book, as you might suspect, they did have chocolate cakes, and they did have over the top bling purple cakes… But no chocolate purple bling over the top cakes… So it was down to two options:

Build a cake - DIY or prefab?

So I either bought the purple, bling, over the top non-chocolate birthday cake, or I built one myself. Knowing myself, you can probably imagine what would come out if I had choosen the left option:


So I made the smart choice – I went for the second option, and bought the complete cake shown at the right. It wasn’t chocolate, but a huge success nonetheless.

Where am I going with this? This is exactly the difference between a solution where you buy all of your components yourself, or you buy a converged infrastructure like a Vblock. Building your own can get you in a heap of trouble if you do not exactly know what you are doing. On the other hand, buying a Vblock might not be exactly to your specifications, but it will be a complete appliance that looks awesome and tastes great!

So “yesterday” everyone bought boxes and cables, and they built themselves an infrastructure. Today, some people buy a converged infrastructure – But a lot of people will see that as something they’ll buy “tomorrow”, today just not yet.

So what about TODAY?

So if I do not want to build my own cake (see previous figure why), but I do not want a completely prebuild cake as well, what do I do? Simple, I’d just visit my wife’s website www.cakemuis.nl and place my order with all the details and flavors I like. Will I have control as to what ingredients are used? Up to some degree, yes… But only the ingredients that go well together… And that may just be what I need! No worries on the assembly, no worries on the combination of ingredients. But a freedom to choose color, taste and finish with the certainty it will come out great.

Drawing the parallel to the infrastructure world, EMC today introduced VSPEX. Just like my order at Cakemuis, it is something inbetween DIY and fully pre-assembled: With VSPEX you can now place your order at a partner and get something with your preferred stuff inside! As long as it tastes good of course 😉

More details on VSPEX

So what is VSPEX? Is it a converged infrastructure like a Vblock? No. Is it a Reference Architecture? No. It is something inbetween. You can basically order your cake built out of several components from various vendors:

  • EMC
  • Cisco
  • VMware
  • Intel
  • Citrix
  • Microsoft

A VSPEX solution comes prebuilt from a partner, certified and all, so there is way less risk of parts not fitting or not matchng, and there is no tuning necessary!


Me too, Me too!

I see more and more vendors going the “VCE route” or the “VSPEX” route. But most of these vendors either construct these monsters out of their own hard/software and their own hard/software alone and call it a “WhateverData” or a “WhateverSystems”, or they just grab some stuff together from here and there and call it a “WhateverPod”.

You may think: What’s wrong with that? Concerning the “lock-in vendors”, the good part is that you get all of their great products. The bad part is, you also get their crappy products to go with it. Yes you have a single point of contact for issues, but the different internal departments of that one vendor still do not talk with each other so the finger pointing still does not stop.

For the “Grab stuff together and let’s give it a flashy name” vendors – You basically buy a bunch of boxes glued together in some way or form, much like a reference architecture – nothing more.

VSPEX is different – Like the Vblock, it is also constructed out of best of breed components, but in a more loosely defined setup. Is automation just as integrated and complete as in the Vblock? I guess not. Is that a problem? Probably not, otherwise you’d have bought a Vblock already! With VSPEX, you choose flavours and toppings, with the guarantee those flavors and toppings will look and taste great. For those of you where a Vblock is for “tomorrow”: VSPEX may be the thing for you “today”!

A link to the VSPEX website can be found here. Or use google to find some cool stuff on VSPEX!

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