Yesterday I talked about PowerEdge VRTX, Dell’s new foray into converged infrastructure, and complained that the marketing is treating VRTX as a product – not a solution.
Since I wrote Part 1, I won a project to do a competitive analysis of VRTX, and as I’ve gone along, my hunch has been confirmed. The product positioning is missing the mark.
There’s no question that VRTX is a good product, a box, so to speak. I’ve been digging through the design and it’s clear a LOT of thought went into it.
But it’s being positioned as a product. As another server, so to speak.
That positioning seems to ignore the elephant in the room – that customers want to solve problems, and that cloud computing, in all flavors, is the problem solving tool of choice for many organizations.
The VRTX product launch frustrated me because it could have been more effectively positioned as cloud in a box, for lack of a better phrase, if Dell had released a VRTX optimized cloud stack along with it.
God, I hope they’re working on one.
My guess is that a fully loaded VRTX could support 50, 75, perhaps even 100 virtual machines at a time. There’s certainly enough compute capacity, RAM, storage, and bandwidth. With that capability, VRTX is no longer a SMB app consolidation platform. It’s cloud computing infrastructure for all sizes of organization.
And that’s why Dell could have a major win IF they’re doing the extra work to create a VRTX optimized cloud stack.
For example, they could be building an OpenStack implementation that ties into Dell’s cloud partners, such as Joyent, so that large organizations could use VRTX as remote office/branch office hybrid cloud infrastructure, while smaller organizations could set up private cloud infrastructure with optional offload to a public cloud provider.
That would be something Amazon couldn’t challenge.
Or if Dell doesn’t want to devote the internal resources to build cloud stacks for VRTX, why not partner with someone? For example, why not work with Microsoft, a long standing Dell partner?
Just as Dell was announcing VRTX, Microsoft was announcing Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, which streamlines private cloud setup, includes integration with Office 365, and links to Microsoft’s Azure cloud for offsite backup (a notable gap in VRTX, by the way). This would be an ideal fit for SMBs since most know Microsoft administration.
For larger organizations, Microsoft also announced Azure packs, which are compartmentalized collections of code designed to turn commodity hardware into hybrid clouds. Again, an ideal fit for VRTX.
And of course there’s always VMware, Red Hat, Citrix, Oracle, etc etc.
I certainly hope Dell is working on VRTX optimized cloud stacks – because if it doesn’t, it is missing a golden opportunity. VRTX could be Dell’s best chance to challenge Amazon (and other public cloud providers) IF the code is there.
In my next post, I’ll speculate as to why Dell decided to position VRTX as it did.