EMC courts service providers with VMAX SP launch

EMC VMAXLAS VEGAS – EMC is looking to make a splash with the growing number of its partners offering infrastructure-as-a-service and other hosted data centre alternatives with the launch of a VMAX SP, a storage system bundled with software and services aimed at the service provider market.

The VMAX SP offers some of the most-requested features the company hears from service provider partners and customers, said Brian Gallagher, president of EMC’s Enterprise Storage Division. That includes quick deployment of the storage system, with the promise of “startup to service delivery in minutes;” multi-tenant management, self-service policy-based provisioning; tenant-level metering and automated billing and reporting.

CMO Jeremy Burton called the VMAX SP the first offering from the company that allowed service providers “to buy an outcome” from EMC.

“We want to make sure the guys associated with EMC are the most trusted service providers” in the cloud world, Burton told partners in the company’s Sunday afternoon Global Partner Summit keynote session.

The VMAX SP will support four tiers (Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze) of end-user SLAs. Fidelma Russo, senior vice president of the Symmetrix Integration Business Unit at EMC said that within those four tiers there will be numerous sub-tiers, divided by I/O operations per second. The tiers range in performance from activities like simple archiving (bronze) through to online transaction processing (gold) and high-performance data applications (platinum)

The launch comes as service providers take on a heightened importance in the face of the move towards the cloud. As concepts like IaaS take hold, infrastructure vendors are looking to get closer to companies whose expertise lie in offering outsourced data centre space and service. EMC has put its support firmly behind the idea of hybrid clouds being the dominant model of the future, and that model necessarily requires the support of a variety of service providers to build out private clouds for enterprises, host their own public clouds, and integrate their own offerings with their customers’ private clouds. So delving into a platform that’s purpose-built to do just that makes sense for EMC.

Indeed, Terry Breen, senior vice president of global alliances, identified “powering up service providers” as one of his group’s core priorities.

“We believe the market is accelerating, and we have no intention of being an SP ourselves, but we’re betting on it being successful,” Breen told partners.

Numerous executives in Sunday afternoon’s marathon keynote session touched on the important of service providers to EMC’s core strategy, but all very carefully echoed Breen’s words that it’s a space in which the company has no intention of competing with its partners. The message to service providers was clear: EMC sees itself as an enabler to the service provider community, not a competitor.

Russo suggested the company sees a broad array of service providers as potential customers, ranging from traditional service providers who will integrate the product into their own orchestration and management workflows via RESTful APIs, through to solution providers, software companies and other organizations being brought to the service provider by the rise of the cloud, for whom the easy set-up message would likely be the biggest selling point.

“This is the ideal tool for partners who have additional capacity to offer that application or capacity as a service,” Russo said. “It’s a way to get in without building the complete infrastructure yourself. You can use it to stand up your services and as you become more successful, than you move towards the RESTful APIs and customize more of your service offering.”

The VMAX SP may be the first of the company’s channel-focused products to be focused on the service provider market, but Pat Gelsinger, president and COO of EMC’s Information Infrastructure Products group, suggested it would not be the last, telling partners that the company will put more engineering resources towards concepts like multi-tenancy in an effort to make EMC’s wares more valuable to partners who are in a service provider model or looking to get into one.

The VMAX SP is slated for release in the third quarter of the year to members of the company’s service provider partner program.