EMC, DiData team to tackle mid-enterprise cloud

Longtime partners EMC and Dimension Data have announced a partnership, dubbed the Catalyst Alliance, that the parties say will allow them to more effectively deliver cloud solutions to the mid-enterprise market.

Jay Snyder, senior vice president of global alliances at EMC

Jay Snyder, senior vice president of global alliances at EMC

The Catalyst Alliance will set out to “jointly define, market, and sell solutions” that include any or all of on-premise or off-premise, private, public, or hybrid cloud offerings. The idea is to combine EMC’s storage offerings and software with Dimension Data’s managed services and cloud control software.

“What’s unique here is that there’s more substance here than in a traditional alliance. This is really a tight relationship between Dimension Data and EMC on a product roadmap, and not just building things into the future, but having senior folks in both firms collaborating to be well-aligned so we hit the market together in stride,” said Jay Snyder, senior vice president of global alliances at EMC.

While the alliance will largely focus its offerings on the mid-enterprise — which the companies define as the $1 billion to $7 billion US per year bracket — that will not be its exclusive target space. It’s just that “that’s where the biggest struggle is” in crafting and implementing a comprehensive cloud strategy, said Kevin Leahy, general manager for Dimension Data’s data centre business unit.

Snyder said the companies are”calling out the mid-size enterprise” because it’s the segment “most likely to be disrupted, and most likely to want to disrupt itself” when it comes to cloud.

“We’re helping customers who are struggling to get high-end global enterprise services, and providing them the opportunity to do so at scale and with speed as well.”

The first offerings from the group will include what they call Private Cloud Enterprise Edition, a cloud stack based on EMC’s gear with DiData’s cloud control software, and managed services for data centres. They’re also working on a host of other projects, including federated hybrid cloud, and a variety of XaaS offerings, including backup and disaster recovery.

“Getting them up and running in 60 days is the model here. It’s not about years to private cloud, it’s about months,” Leahy said.

The Alliance will not form its own company, but will have people in the product, sales and channel teams on both sides that work closely together, both centrally and in individual markets. Snyder said, for example, that there will be a defined Alliance director in Canada that works with the sales, tecnical, and marketing people in both companies’ Canadian operations to build the business.

“We’re both putting skin in the game in terms of an investment of people. Real folks, really staffed, and really skilled in what we’re going to market around, to drive the cloud market farther, and faster,” Snyder said.

Although the companies just went public with Catalyst Wednesday morning, the deal has been in place since July, with a great deal of planning since then. Fortunately, the companies quickly found common ground, Leahy said.

“As we shared our vision with each other, you could have swapped each’s slides out for the others,” he said. “This has been a long-term relationship, and Catalyst Alliance raises it to a new level. We expect a lore more innovation down the road.”

While the effort will be primarily about the two parties in Catalyst, and Dimension Data is in many regards itself a solution provider, albeit a very large and global one, the companies list channel reach as one of the strengths EMC brings to the table in the group. The most likely route to the channel is in EMC’s Cloud Connect program, through with solution providers who do not wish to stand up their own cloud offerings can resell those of EMC’s service provider partners, of which Dimension Data is one.

“They can leverage a Dimension Data and receive benefits for doing so as part of our business partner program,” Snyder said. “It’s an opportunity for VARs to get involved and still be VARs in their local regional space.”